Sajith attacks Ranil who passed reforms buck to a committee
Posted on August 13th, 2010

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Divisions with the UNP widened with Sajith Premadasa, the reformist leading a campaign to change the UNP constitution, firing  a broadside on Ranil Wickremesinghe, the failed leader of the UNP who had lost 16 elections in a row, at the last meeting of the Working Committee held at Sri Kotha on Wednesday.

 The key issue that was to top the agenda of the Working Committee meeting, was the reforming of the party by granting the right of vote to the grass root representatives “”…” namely, the palath sabha, nagara sabha, pradeshiya sabhas and the electoral organizers “”…” in the election of the party hierarchy, including the leader. This issue was debated heatedly in the previous meeting and it was to be taken up for a decision at last Wednesday meeting. The reformists assumed that it will be taken up as agreed in the last Working Committee meeting. But this item which is the hottest issue in the current crisis within the UNP was not even mentioned in the minutes by the General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake. When finally the issue was taken up Wickremesinghe ruled it out of order claiming that it was not recorded in the minutes presented by the Attanayake (aka Nuttanayake).

 The minutes are prepared by Wickremesinghe, Daya Pelpola, and Tissa Attanayake “”…” both of whom are know henchmen of Wickremesinghe. The reformists were stunned by this omission. It is a common tactic of Wickremesinghe gang to doctor the minutes by deleting issues that go against their interests. This tactic has been used time and again. UNPers have raised this issue earlier and yet Wickremesinghe and his Secretary continue to manipulate the minutes to suit their agenda.

 Of course, part of the blame is due to lack of vigilance by the Working Committee members who wake up only after the trick has been played out. When Wickremesinghe played the trick for the umpteenth time last Wednesday the members were stunned. It was obvious to everyone that the most critical issue of the day was not mentioned in the minutes because the constitutional reform of including grass root members of the party would undermine Wickremesinghe’s tenuous position as leader.

 UNPers concede that Wickremesinghe won the day but not the months to come. His tactic has always been to postpone problems that threaten his position or play for time by appointing committees which produce reports that he never reads. He has now postponed the issue indefinitely hoping to go through the Special Convention that is likely to be convened to consider the reforms approved by the Working Committee.

 He has passed the issue of reforms to a committee of lawyers headed by Wijedasa Rajapakse, who is now seen increasingly as a stooge of Wickremesinghe. Tilak Marapane, Ronald Perera and Daya Pelpola are the other members. The legal brain that steered the party through all its critical legal battles was K. N. Choksy. But he has been marginalized because he has commented favourably on the Mahinda Rajapakse administration. After passing the buck to this legal committee Wickremesinghe walked out of the meeting leaving everything in a state of limbo.

 UNPers now say that they have will have to wait till he returns from Europe. But his going abroad too is not certain because of his mother’s condition. President Mahinda Rajapakse too visited the hospital and spoke to the doctors and inquired about her condition.

 The meeting began with a planed attack on Sajith Premadasa by two of Wickremesinghe supporters “”…” Ananda Kularatne and Ranjith Atapapattu. It was seen clearly as a pre-planned move by Wickremesinghe to silence Sajith. Kularatne said that Sajith was not a team-player who respects the seniors of the party. His argument was that everyone should follow the leader. Ranjith Attapattu, the president of ex-parliamentarians who was spearheading the reform movement to give voting rights to the grass root workers and organizers at district and local government levels, did not raise the issue of constitutional reforms as promised at the meeting. He was silent as the Buddha statues removed from Sri Kotha on Wickremesinghe’s order.

 Sajith Premadasa refused to be cowed down by the attack engineered by Wickremesinghe who, as usual, pretended that he had nothing to do wit it. Before the meeting ended Wickremesinghe faced a barrage from Sajith Premadasa, Dayasiri Jayasekera and other reformists. Sajith, in particular, dealt a sharp blow accusing Wickremesinghe of undercutting him, which is not unusual to his style of politics. Sajith told Wickremesinghe that he has had no money to print the party manifesto in four colours while he has all the money to print pamphlets in two colours attacking the Premadasa family. He told Wickremesinghe that he has never helped him ever since he entered politics. Instead he has always tried to pull the rug under his feet.

 UNPers are generally agreed on the fact that Wickremesinghe has always sabotaged the career of any rivals whom he feels are a threat to his leadership. Some of the best talent in the party joined Mahinda Rajapakse because he covertly acted against them, planting stories in the media, or putting one against the other, or engineering attacks on his rivals. Sajith told Wickremesinghe that he is now engaged in game of running down the Premadasa family and accusing him for the attacks on Ravi Karunanayake when he visited Hambantota. He said that he had never engaged in violence and never will. He said he will resign if it is proved that he had a hand in the attack on Karunanayake’s car. Some UNPers whisper that this attack was staged by “catchers” of Wickremesinghe who was maneuvering to throw mud at Sajith.

 Dayasiri, another leading reformist also attacked Wickremesinghe for violating the constitution. He said that according to the constitution Wickremesinghe cannot bring outsiders as and when he pleases. He said that at the last meeting Wickremesinghe brought in three outsiders. And this time he had brought Mangala Samaraweera. He told Wickremesinghe that as president he orders members not to violate the constitution but he keeps on violating the very constitution that he wants others to uphold.

 Wickremesinghe said that he had promised to bring Mangala in April but at this request he held back his introduction to the Working Committee..

 Political observers note the apparent contradiction in Wickremesinghe contradictory politics. He poses in public and abroad as the great democratic leader whose aim is to reform the national constitution but he resists through his usual trickery to change reforms to democratize the UNP constitution. Even the UNPers are saying that he should set the example of leading democratic reforms first by giving the right of vote the grass root workers and, second, by ending his one-man rule. If he is not afraid of his members and if he believes in democracy he should begin by enfranchising the hardworking members of the party at the grass root levels.

 The reformists are positive that he will lose the confidence of the party as a whole as long as he keeps a section of the members out of the loop. Sooner or later he will have to concede the right of vote to the members in the lower ranks of the organization. Wickremesinghe is hoping to postpone the reforms to remain in power. But the more he postpones the day of reckoning the more he will lose the confidence of the rank and file who are already disillusioned with his leadership.

 The critical question before the UNPers now is simple: do they want to save Wickremesinghe or do they want to save the party before goes further down hill under his leadership? They all agree that the party can live without Wickremesinghe but what they do not know is how Wickremesinghe is going to live without the party.

2 Responses to “Sajith attacks Ranil who passed reforms buck to a committee”

  1. dhane Says:

    Wickremesinghe has go and live with his Indian Astrologer who predicted he could be next President in Sri Lanka.
    But this Astrologer failed to tell RW whether it will be this birth or next birth.

  2. Kit Athul Says:

    Very many does not know how Pramadase, then deputy mayor killed any one who came against him. That is how he became the Prime Minister and later President. His son has access to all his father’s killer gangs. Who killed the man who gave Pramadase’s ancestry? The author of “Mama Kuda”? He stated that Pramadase’s name was Not Ranasinghe, but Ranahin. Then, he went on to state that Pramadase’s Grand Mother and Grand Father were Malayali’s. The son is just starting to do the same things. One should ask the question befor supporting Pramadase’s son. Who gave money to Sajith Pramadase for the last election? A Muslim man with a Swedish pass port and nationality! Author Mahindapala should have some idea of what happened at that time, many ears ago.

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