By Yohan Perera
The stage has been set for Minister Sajith Premadasa to be named as the presidential candidate of the UNP-led alliance, but the only regret is that the date of the announcement has been postponed by a day, Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said yesterday.
He told a news conference that the postponement of the working committee meeting by one day is regrettable and unfair by party members.
“The obstacles that stood in the way of Mr. Premadasa have actually been a blessing for him to consolidate his position as a potential candidate,” Mr. Perera said and added that the symbol and the name of the alliance would be decided after candidate was named.
He said the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) led by Minister Rauff Hakeem, the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) led by Minister Mano Ganeshan, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) led by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen have pledged their support to Mr. Premadasa.
When asked whether Mr. Premadasa would take over the leadership of the UNP if he is named the presidential candidate, Mr. Perera said those who are backing the UNP Deputy Leader only want him named as the candidate.
“We only want Mr. Premadasa officially named as the UNP candidate while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe could remain as the leader,” he said .
Meanwhile, Mr. Perera said a rally in support of Mr. Premadasa will be held in Matugama today despite inclement weather conditions. “We might need about 30,000 umbrellas if the prevailing rains continue but we trust it would improve by today,” he said.
The obstacles that stood in the way of Mr. Premadasa have actually been a blessing for him to consolidate his position as a potential candidate