Towards a progressive opposition – views expressed

Towards a progressive opposition – views expressed

Written by Bella Dalima

27 Jun, 2014 | 7:02 am

Intellectuals and veteran politicians opine that there is an urgent need for a progressive opposition in the country.

They are of the view that such a formidable opposition could only be created if all stakeholders unite under one leader.

Suranga Senanayake: Some say that the United National Party has not been able to secure victory because of the party constitution and new changes and because the party has rejected the people and the supporters. What is your view on this?

Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: The United National Party has been in the opposition for twenty years. The voter percentage of the party has dropped by 50%. The government has one and half times more MPs compared to the total number of members in the UNP parliamentary team. When all these developments had taken place, the only thing that has not changed during the last twenty years is the UNP Leadership.

Suranga Senanayake: You were a long standing member of the UNP. You also served as a senior leader and held the post of General Secretary. Why is that the UNP has been unable to come to power during the last 20 years.

Sirisena Cooray: When you are going for a fight there needs to be unity. If this unity has not been created, there won’t be any success.

Suranga Senanayake: Who is responsible for creating “Unity”.

Sirisena Cooray: The Leader. A leader should always surround himself with individuals who are competent. He has to make them work and benefit from the profit.

Suranga Senanayake: So, do you mean to say that the current Leader is not surrounding himself with a group of efficient people? It is no secret that the Working Committee takes the very decisive decisions of the party

Sirisena Cooray: It is very evident. There are no competent/efficient people in the party.

Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: The people are looking for an alternative. They are looking for a better leadership than the current leadership in the country. They are looking for a leader who could protect the country and salvage the country. The leader needs to understand the pulse of the people. That is what the people expect. Hence when you look at President Mahinda Rajapaksa and compare him with the current leader of the party, The people would not cast their votes for the party.

Sirisena Cooray: I always say ” This individual cannot do it. He cannot do it” I am saying this over and over again. This is such a big party, if he is not successful why not change the leadership. The party constitution was formulated by a group of good and impartial people.

Suranga Senanayake: So it is the party constitution?….

Sirisena Cooray: It’s not the Constitution. I am referring to the earlier constitution of the UNP

Suranga Senanayake: Does that mean the current constitution needs to be amended? Can party be reinvigorated through this?

Sirisena Cooray: They imprisoned me, in order to change the constitution.

Suranga Senanayake: You were in Prison…

Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: 97

Sirisena Cooray: Even I was..

Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: In 97, I informed Chandrika and kept him under house arrest. I paid him a visit in secret.

Sirisena Cooray: He came to fix the television

Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: In the guise of fixing the television, I went to see him. Mr. Sirisena Cooray was surrounded by the army.

Suranga Senanayake: You were in house arrest?

Sirisena Cooray: Yes.





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