Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said that SJB will contest under the swan symbol
Main issue raised by UNP is the adoption of Ape Jathika Peramuna constitution by SJB
Neither UNP nor SJB will gain by going separately
If anyone files objections, SJB could lose nomination
By Yohan Perera
Despite the week assigned for nominations for the April 25 Parliamentary Election being days away, the confusion within the United National Party came to a head yesterday with several leaders of the party suggesting various options on the election. While UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam on Saturday had stated that the UNP would contest the General Election under the elephant symbol, former MP Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday said talks are continuing with Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) to end differences and face the polls together.
Meanwhile, former UNP Member Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said that SJB will contest under the swan symbol as the party which owns the symbol had given the green light for them to use its symbol whereas some other UNP sources denied any involvement of talks on contesting under the Swan symbol.
former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is playing a leading role in bringing the two sides together
Mr Wijewardene told a press conference that former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is playing a leading role in bringing the two sides together. “We have already informed the Election Commission that UNP will contest the general election under the elephant symbol but talks are continuing to contest under a common symbol,” he said without ruling out the possibility of contesting under
the swan symbol.
“We are ready to contest together if an agreement is reached to contest the election under a common symbol though we have informed the election commission about the move to contest under the elephant symbol,” he said.
He said this in response to a question whether UNP would agree to contest under swan symbol. Asked about certain reports that an agreement had already been reached to contest under swan, the former MP said there is no official report on it yet.
Ruwan Wijewardene stressed that neither UNP nor SJB will gain by going separately
Mr Wijewardene stressed that neither UNP nor SJB will gain by going separately. “UNP voters will go four ways in the event of a split in the party. One group will vote for elephant even while grumbling, one group would vote for the SJB. Another group will not go to the polling booth while there will be other disheartened UNPers who could vote for SLPP,” he observed.
Both UNP and SJB will lose in such a scenario, he said.
At the same time, Mr Wijewardene said the primary issue is the ideological differences between the two groups. “These can be resolved without a division,” he said.
Also, he argued that the main issue raised by the UNP is the adoption of Ape Jathika Peramuna constitution by SJB which says no outsider can contest under the telephone symbol. “If anyone files objections, SJB could lose nomination. This is why UNP wants SJB to change its constitution,” he said while highlighting that even JHU Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka had also confirmed this situation.