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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2397

Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya charges in a public statement that UNP is run by a privileged clique

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 01 November, (Asiantribune.com): The deputy leader of the United National Party, the country’s main parliamentary opposition depicting the growing discontent in the party about its leadership charged in a public statement that all the decision making in the party is controlled by a privileged clique.Karu Jayasuriya : "At present, all the decision making in the party is controlled by a small privileged clique. This structure needs to be reviewed. This cannot continue." Karu Jayasuriya : "At present, all the decision making in the party is controlled by a small privileged clique. This structure needs to be reviewed. This cannot continue."

The deputy leader, Karu Jayasuriya, who polled a large number of votes at the last general election and who was a powerful minister in the former Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet by issuing a public statement showed the growing crisis in the party about the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, political observers in Colombo said.

The crisis in the party leadership has grown more after Karu Jayasuriya has led successful discussions with President Rajapaksa about joining the government under a Memorandum of Understanding that was ceremonially signed recently. After that strong divisions were seen in the party about entering the government by accepting cabinet positions versus only cooperating with the government from the opposition benches.

Immediately after the defeat of Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential elections there was a growing movement in the party urging Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign from the party leadership.

Using arbitrary powers vested in the party leadership and using Deputy Secretary Tissa Attanayaka Wickremesinghe averted the impending crisis attempting to consolidate his power. Karu Jayasuriya and the newly appointed party chairman Rukman Senanayaka were members of a delegation that urged Ranil to resign.

In his press statement UNP Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya said , "At present, all the decision making in the party is controlled by a small privileged clique. This structure needs to be reviewed. This cannot continue. The leadership need to represent the masses that suffer and shed tears on behalf of the party. This is the wish of the majority."

The General Secretary of the party, hand picked recently by the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and who is widely known as a protégé of Wickremesinghe totally rejected the charges of Karu Jayasuriya in another public statement made to the BBC’s Sinhala program, the Sandeshaya.

He rejected the notion of a privileged clique in the party and said such decisions could be taken in the working committee and the parliamentary group.

But it is a well known fact that the UNP, though publicly represents what it calls democracy lacks any kind of internal party democracy and the arbitrary powers are consolidated in the hands of the party leader. It has been publicly charged by various sections of the party that the party leader is misusing arbitrary powers in his hands. National Organizer S. B. Dissanayaka is one who advocates such a cry.

After a Karu Jayasuriya led team negotiated the MOU with President Rajapaksa’s government some sections accused them of working for cabinet positions. Jayasuriya said in his statement, "There were reports with malicious intent depicting our effort as an aim to secure portfolios. We condemn these reports with contempt they deserve."

A BBC interviewer asked whether the party would take any disciplinary action against Karu Jayasuriya like it did against Mahinda Wijesekera and Tissa Attanayaka played it down.

- Asian Tribune -

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