Written by Staff Writer
14 Feb, 2020 | 10:17 pm
Colombo (News 1st): A group of UNP MPs met with the Chairman of the National Election Commission to hold discussions on the symbol for the proposed alliance. Parliamentarians Ranjith Maddumabandara, Ravi Karunanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, and Sujeewa Senasinghe attended the discussions.
MP Sujeewa Senasinghe noted that all of the issues have been resolved and everyone has agreed to unite and contest in the alliance under the leadership of Sajith Premadasa, and a common symbol. He added that they agreed to contest under a common symbol and will make an announcement on what the symbol would be after discussions.
The United National Party committee appointed to make a decision on the symbol to contest, met at the Party Headquarters before meeting the Chairman of the Election Commission.
The committee comprises of Malik Samarawickreme, Mangala Samaraweera, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Kabir Hashim, Naveen Dissanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Lakshman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake and John Amarathunge.
Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa also attended the meeting this evening.
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: We were able to conclude the discussion successfully. We decided to move forward united. We will let you know about how we are going to contest. The main decision was to move forward together.
Journalist: Did you discuss the symbol of an elephant?
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: We ended all of those formally. We will inform the media.
Journalist: Did you receive the post of General Secretary officially?
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: Received it officially.
Journalist: What about the symbol?
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: We will let you know in the future.
Journalist: So who will have the authority with regard to nominations? Will it be you or party General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam?
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: We will discuss further and make a decision. There is no problem. We will work in a manner everyone has a power.
Journalist: Will there be another round of discussions?
Ranjith Madduma Bandara: No more discussions. Everything has been decided. We will make a decision nobody expected, but a decision everyone will accept. Those who wanted to divide us will be shocked.
MP Ravi Karunanayake noted that the decision that they reached today can be taken forwarded. He stressed that they are UNPers and the alliance members will also be protected. Adding to this MP Dilip Wedaarachchi noted that be it an elephant or the tiger, they will do what they want.
MP Kabir Hashim also responded to several questions raised by journalists.
Kabir Hashim: We were able to come to a common understanding today. Everyone at the UNP decided to reach one conclusion. The leaders of these parties will discuss on Saturday and Sunday and inform you about the future course of action by Monday or Tuesday.
Journalist: Did the leader agree with giving power to Sajith Premadasa?
Kabir Hashim: We discussed and drafted a proper program.
Journalist: What was the stance of the leader? What was his opinion on today’s discussions?
Kabir Hashim: He held cordial discussions with Sajith Premadasa with the intention on resolving the issue. Sajith Premadasa took a flexible approach. The majority is of the stance that we must go into a new alliance to face the election.
Before arriving at the party headquarters, Sajith Premadasa met with MPs and Organizers this morning. It was decided during the meeting that a final decision should be reached during the day today. MP Gayantha Karunathilake noted that as an alliance, MPs were of the stance that all of them must contest the election.
Meanwhile, MP Manusha Nanayakkara stressed that they will not attend any more discussions after 12 midnight today.
Meanwhile, during a media briefing at the opposition leader’s office, MP Wijith Vijayamuni Zoysa expressed the following views.
“The present government is making attractive pledges until the general election. This is just a brief interval. After the elections, they will sign the Millenium Challenge Corporation compact and will transfer all the burden to the general public. The government speaks of constructing one hundred thousand kilometers. But where’s the funding for all of that? They speak of providing one hundred thousand jobs, but where’s the money? The government has lost Rs 900 billion of tax revenue. The present government has divided into two and there is a rift between both of these factions. Though they hide these issues now, they will come to light in the near future. Therefore, we are sure that we can win the upcoming general election. However, we must maintain unity. If we are not united, we cannot go forward.”
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