Former United National Party (UNP) General Secretary and national list parliamentarian Tissa Attanayaka yesterday maintained that he was still an UNPer and had decided to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa to save the UNP from those who had hijacked the party.Former United National Party (UNP) General Secretary and national list parliamentarian Tissa Attanayaka yesterday maintained that he was still an UNPer and had decided to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa to save the UNP from those who had hijacked the party.
Flanked by some eight ministers, he told a packed news conference at the ‘Apegama’ theme park in Battaramulla that the common opposition had signed different MOUs with different political entities with the aim of winning the presidential election and forming a national government but no one knew the contents of those MOUs.
“None of our objectives existed at the beginning of this campaign have been met by the common opposition. I am totally against the opposition’s decision to field Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate. The efforts to secure the crossover of 20 government members to the opposition had also failed. I have serious doubts about the MOUs signed with different extremist groups such as the TNA, JHU and the JVP. The common opposition will be obliged to satisfy the extremist Tamil groups and the Tamil Diaspora. These pledges are extremely dangerous for the national security and the sovereignty of the country. We do not know what the opposition has promised but we have a right to know,” Mr. Attanayake said. “The opposition was a coalition of strange bedfellows who profess different extremist policies. I do not understand how the JHU, TNA and the JVP can campaign to achieve a common objective.”
Mr. Attanayaka said he fought right throughout to protect the party and vehemently opposed the fielding of a common candidate with the backing of the UNP.
“I expressed my protest openly at the party’s Working Committee meetings in the presence of UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa. I said the UNP must field a candidate under the elephant symbol and if Mr. Wickremesinghe was not agreeable to that suggestion then Mr. Premadasa must be fielded against President Rajapaksa. No one listened to me. I then decided to leave the UNP if I cannot protect the party,” he said. “Why should we bring an outsider to the presidency on our shoulders? Why should UNPers vote for an outsider if he plans to form a new political party if elected to office as revealed in the media? The country will no doubt become insecure and unsettled if President Rajapaksa is defeated in the Presidential race and that is why I decided to support him.”
Mr. Attanayaka said he was kept in the dark about all the discussions and agreements entered into by the UNP. (Sandun A Jayasekera)