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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2703

UNP seems to be wanting to hunt with the hounds and run with the foxes by entering the Rajapaksa Government

By Walter Jayawardhana

As revealed in the last working committee meeting of the United National Party many in the party want to follow a hunt with the hounds and run with the foxes policy by entering into a grand coalition with the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

As expressed by many in the working committee meeting they were delighted to have ministerial plums in the cabinet and some wanted to demand even 50 per cent of the available ministerial positions for the UNP stalwarts, party insiders said.

In fact such demands were put forward mostly by UNP leaders like Rajitha Senaratne who has been mostly critical of the Mahinda Rajapaksa policy of going to war when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam blocked the Mavil Aru Irrigation canal. He has been also a crusader of Kumar Rupasinghe’s National Anti War Movement that has been accused of being a fifth column for the warring Tamil Tigers.

Even Ranil Wicremesinghe’s beautiful friend Rosie Senanayaka reportedly wanted the party to demand a fifty per cent of the cabinet positions.
But many wanted to have the plums of office while gaining political mileage in order to form the same kind of UNP government with a policy of appeasement to the Tamil Tigers reversing many gains of the present government over the LTTE.

National Organizer S. B. Dissanayaka and his political colleague Mahinda Wijesekera point out the greed of office among many UNP stalwarts is being used by the leader of the party to do away proposed reforms to curb his dictatorial powers in the United national Party. Dissanayaka and Wijesekera company is accusing that under the present UNP constitution the party leader cannot be changed unless he dies or decides to resign. They say many party members were ready to change those regulations but now they were more concerned about winning a ministerial plum by being in the good books of Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Wijesekera recently said that the proposals for those party reforms are to be submitted by them by November 19 and for Ranil Wickremesinghe to keep dictatorial powers that enable him to appoint the Secretary General and Chairman of the Party was not in keeping with any accepted democratic norm in the world. National Organizer S. B. Dissanayaka said that he was fully opposed to the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe protégé Tissa Attanayaka as the Secretary General and parliamentarian and founder leader D.S.Senanayaka’s grandson Rukman Senanayaka as the party Chairman.

Immediately after the last Presidential election Rukman was leading a group of rural members of parliament together with Karu Jayasuriya in demanding Wickremesinghe to resign. But Wickremesinghe used Tissa Attanayaka to avert that revolt and gradually won him over by offering a powerless title in the party.

Criticizing Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement that the UNP would support the government’s budget Wijesekera said in the face of the country’s economic downfall that was an unacceptable position. Wijesekera questioned how he could support the government without even knowing whether the government was prepared to accept a federal solution or a unitary solution. He attacked the party leadership for giving an open check to the hands of the government.

After agreeing to support the government’s budget, at a recent UNP press conference UNP parliamentarians Laxman Kiriella and Bandula Gunawardena made scathing attacks on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Bandula Gunawardena accused the government of producing false figures at when presenting their last budget and said it has brought about economic ruination.

Kiriella accused Rajapaksa of promising to unite all political parties within three months and said he could not unite even with his own coalition partner the JVP so far. But Kiriella did not mention that it was his own party that has been dragging their feet about any unity for the last 11 months.

Many have said it was not a United national Party which was trying to enter the grand coalition but a disunited national party. Many in that party love to have the ministerial plums even without winning an election and at the same time criticize the government. They want to run with the foxes and hunt with the hounds. They want to have a political mileage at the cost of the government and very much want to join the coalition.

- Asian Tribune -

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