UPFA confident of ‘Mother of all
Justification for the best ever showing at Southern PC Polls, Oct”-
- Ranil blamed for UVA defeat
- “All UPFA candidates mine. No favourites”- President
- JVP pins hope on Hambantota
- TNA seeks Opposition support for Vavuniya UC
crisis brewing in the dissention –wracked UNP has taken a turn for the
worse, following the party’s humiliating defeat at the Uva PC polls.
This became quite evident at the proceedings of the party’s Working
Committee and the Political Affairs Committee held last Wednesday, which
turned stormy as expected.
The party’s Political Affairs Committee was held at Sirikotha with
Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya in the chair. At the outset, Karu thanked
Lakshman Seneviratne, Ravi Samaraweera and Ranjith Madduma Bandara for
campaigning tirelessly for the party at the poll. He attributed the
party’s defeat to the failure on the part of the government to hold the
The Deputy leader’s comment appeared to be the signal for starting a
post-mortem on the defeat by the party’s frontliners. Contradicting
Karu’s comment, Rukman Senanayake who took the floor after Karu, put the
blame for the defeat squarely on party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The UNP, once a massive tree has come down to the size of a mango
plant today. Following the Southern PC it will be reduced to the size of
a weed stalk, said Rukman. He also wondered whether the UNP would be
able to muster even 10 percent of the total vote at Southern PC poll.
Lakshman Seneviratne who spoke next charged that the party leader
Wickremesinghe caused much damage to the party campaign, by announcing a
wrong election date and distorting the history of Uva at the party’s
“It would have been better if he had not come to Uva at all,”
remarked Lakshman Seneviratne.
Johnston Fernando, another vociferous critic of the party leader charged
that Ranil had nominated people only loyal to him to the committee that
was appointed to study the proposed Common Political Consensus and to
submit recommendations to the party’s Working Committee. He proposed
that Rukman Senanayake, Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Joseph Michael
Perera to be appointed to this committee. Karu Jayasuriya promised to
bring this matter up at the Working Committee due to meet later in the
Karu also announced that Lakshman Wijemanne has been appointed as the
party’s Kalutara chief organiser.
Dayasiri exits from Working Committee
The UNP Working Committee met at Sirikotha on Wednesday afternoon with
Ranil Wickremesinghe in the chair.
Party’s Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera stole the show at
this meeting when he announced his decision to resign from the Working
Committee after making a speech charged with emotion.
Dayasiri’s resignation was as a protest against what he described as
nominating a wrong person as the chairman of the UNP-held Kuliyapitiya
Pradeshiya Sabha. to succeed the former UNP chairman who resigned to
contest the Wayamba PC elections. He charged that the party had
arbitrarily nominated a Pradeshiya Sabha member, known to be a friend of
Akila Kariyawasam to this position. Dayasiri had pointed out that this
move runs counter to a policy decision taken by the Working Committee to
nominate the next person in the order of preference votes polled when
such vacancies occur.
“The policies of the party are manipulated today to suit the whims
and fancies of Sagala and Akila. This type of wrong-doings are spelling
the doom of the party. My conscience does not allow me to function any
longer as a member of the Working Committee,’ said Dayasiri before
walking out of the meeting.
“You parade naked in politics. But don’t strip us naked”
Lakshman Seneviratne, speaking at length emphasised the need to announce
the party’s Presidential candidate without further delay. ‘Who is going
to be the UNP’s Presidential candidate? Is he Ranil? asked Lakshman.
Before waiting for answer he said:” Those who think that Ranil
Wickremesinghe as the party candidate can win, please raise your hands!”
When none raised his hand, Lakshman turned to Ranil and said:” Do you
now realize the sad position to which you are reduced today?”
Vajira Abeywardena who spoke next pointed out that it was not
opportune for the party to announce the party candidate at this stage.
”Announcing our candidate at this stage is prejudicial to our
campaigning in the South. It could affect our vote base,” said Vajira
“Ranil Wickremesinghe is our candidate. But this is not the ideal
moment to make the announcement,” Renuka Herath said echoing Vajira’s
viewpoint. A visibly emotive Johnston Fernando directly addressed the
party leader: “You are destroying the party on a daily basis. The
Presidential poll is only a few months away. Are you contesting or not?
You have to take a decision now itself. You parade naked in politics.
But don’t try to strip us naked. We can’t allow that to happen,” he
Johnston Fernando also reminded the party leader that the Political
Affairs committee had taken several far reaching decisions. ”Please
place them before this meeting. The Presidential poll is round the
corner. Therefore, you cannot stall them any further.”
The atmosphere at the meeting became tense, when UNP leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe in his reply to his critics charged that it was not he
who was destroying the party, but the people who were pressing for
Taking exception to this statement, Johnston Fernando called on the
party leader to withdraw his statement. Ranil in reply repeated his
charge. :”It is not I who destroy the party, but you.”
Renuka Herath and Suranimala Rajapaksa began heckling Johnston who
was berating the party leader, and this triggered a furor which marked
an unceremonious end to the Working Committee meeting. Dayasiri was the
first to walk out amidst the confusion, saying that he was not prepared
to listen to a leader who was destroying the party.
Dayasiri Jayasekera had sent his letter of resignation from the party’s
Working Committee last Thursday.
Truant Party heavyweights, Uva pulled up
“I know the party organisers who worked with dedication at all elections
starting from the Eastern PC poll. I have also received reports about
certain organisers who had slipped away after marking their presence on
the campaign trail,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told a meeting of SLFP
organisers held at Temple Trees recently. The President added: “Those
who had showed up just to mark their presence should know that they had
failed to deceive the party, and they had only deceived themselves.”
The President further disclosed that he had come to know that certain
PC and Pradeshiya Sabha members presuming that they were sure to get
nominations to contest the elections, had played truant. “Remember, none
who fail to pull their weight, will get nominations from the party,”
Southern PC poll early October- Presidential poll in January
Speaking next, the party’s General Secretary Minister Maitripala
Sirisena said that the election to the Southern PC will be held early
October this year, and the Presidential poll will be announced after
“We hope to hold the Presidential Poll in January next year, and
dissolve Parliament soon after in January itself, to make way for the
General Parliamentary elections to be held in March,” said Minister
“Government is planning to accelerate the development process after
wrapping up all the elections before Vesak next year”, said Sirisena.
At this meeting, former DIG D.W.Prathapasinghe and President’s
co-ordinating secretary Aruna Gunaratne received their letters of
appointment as Matara District SLFP organisers.
UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha, Ministers Athauda
Seneviratne, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Pavitra Vanniarachchi, Mahinda
Ranaweera, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Gunaratne Weerakoon, and Hemakumara
Nanayakkara were among those who participated in this meeting.
A separate meeting with the SLFP organisers in the Southern province
Meanwhile, UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha said that the
party’s list of candidates contesting the upcoming Southern PC elections
would be finalised within next week. “We have already picked our SLFP
candidates. The UPFA candidates have to be finalised only after
negotiations with the other constituent parties of the government
coalition which are to field candidates,” Minister Premajayantha
Coalition partners LSSP and the CP according to informed sources,
propose to contest only in the Galle and Matara districts.
The LSSP has decided to field former test cricketer Ajith de Silva
and Ven. Baddegama Samita Thera, a former MP on the Galle District list.
Sri Lanka Communist party will field former PC Minister A.G.Piyasiri and
former PC member G. Denetti on the UPFA’s Galle District list and former
PC members Bindu Weerasinghe and Weerasumana Weerasinghe on the UPFA’s
Matara district list.
Meanwhile, the UNP has appointed a Nomination Committee to come up with
the party’s lists of candidates for the three districts in the Southern
UPFA confident of unprecedented landslide
Fresh from the unprecedented victory at the Uva PC elections where both
UNP and the JVP suffered a humiliating defeat, there is soaring
confidence among the government leaders, that the anticipated landslide
at the Southern PC polls would be the mother of all PC victories. The
UPFA registered a 72 percent vote in Uva, far in excess of what the
party mustered at Sabaragamuwa, Wayamba, Western province and the
Central Province. There is justification for the hope of the best ever
showing at a PC election at the Southern PC poll to be held on October
10, a party spokesman said.
This general feeling found articulation when President Rajapaksa was
addressing the SLFP organisers at temple Trees recently. “We all should
make a concerted effort to record still a better performance in the
South than the 72 percent victory we bagged in Uva,” President Rajapaksa
told the organisers.
The President prefaced this address with a solemn expression of his
thanks to the organisers who contributed their share towards the great
“No `Mahinda Rajapaksa Special’ candidates contesting the South’
Speaking on the Southern PC poll, the President said:” I understand that
most candidates in the fray in the South have already started
electioneering. That’s very good. However, I understand that some
candidates are carrying out propaganda saying they are my candidates. We
have not nominated any special candidates as mine for the Southern PC
election. I look on all UPFA candidates as mine. Please remember this
well: I have no favourites among the candidates!” said the President.
The President was, in fact, reacting to complaints made to him by
several ministers from the South that certain coordinating officers of
the Presidential Secretariat who are to contest on the UPFA ticket, had
been describing themselves as the `President’s candidates’ while
The high-handed manner in which President’s coordinating secretary
Sajin Vass Gunawardena in particular was carrying out his campaign in
the South, had incurred the displeasure of several government ministers
hailing from the South. Former Chief Minister Shan Wijelal de Silva, and
Ministers Piyasena Gamage and Gunaratne Weerakoon had complained to the
President that Vaas Gunawardena was conducting propaganda meetings in
their areas without informing them – a courtesy they were entitled to.
“He is parading in our areas misusing a fleet of government vehicles as
if to demonstrate the political clout he had drawn from the President
himself,” aggrieved ministers had told the President.
The ministers from the South had also said that Sajin was going
around escorted by a team of MSD security personnel, whom he had
obtained saying that he was facing a security threat. He had
helicoptered to certain areas from Colombo as a ploy to impress on
people that he was President Rajapaksa’s choice of the Chief Minister,
they had said. However, the President’s `I have no favourites’ speech
made at the SLFP organisers meeting has given some sense of relief to
the aggrieved ministers.
JVP looks for ‘consolation showing’ at Hambantota
The JVP which too suffered a series of humiliating defeats in a row, now
looks forward to a `consolation showing’ in the Hambantota District .The
fact that they are running the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha and their
late founder-leader’s home town being Tangalle, has gone a long way in
strengthening their hope of a much better performance in Hambantota.
Opposition support a must for TNA to run Vavuniya UC.
The TNA (Ilangai Thamil Arasukachchi) took the Vavuniya Urban Council
winning five seats of a total of 11 seats. Of the remaining six the
PLOTE has won three, UPFA two and SLMC one. This means the TNA is
dependent on the support of the opposition to run the administration.
Meanwhile, TNA MP Sivanathan Kishore says that their party had decided
to run the Council with the co-operation of other parties. Thanks to
LTTE being no more, Ilankai Thamil Arasukachchi is free to work with
other parties conforming to democratic norms.