Several UNP-affiliated university dons yesterday called for unity among the party and for a collective approach to review and revamp it. They said the distancing from Buddhist monks and several other reasons had led to the defeat of the UNP at the recent presidential election,
Professor M.O.A de Soysa and and Professor H.W. Cyril of the Peradeniya University and Professor Krishantha Gunawardene of the Kelaniya University told a news conference yesterday that a lack of collective responsibility among the ministers of the former government, the inability to counter the criticism in the aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks and the inability to counter the criticism on the 13-point demand made by the Tamil groups had distanced the party from the people and resulted in the defeat of the UNP candidate.
The Dons said confrontation among various factions in the UNP would plunge the party into a greater crisis.
“One has to resolve domestic issues before fighting those outsides,” Prof. Cyril said. “One should not form new parties and should have a proper understanding of the situation. Anyone can argue that former Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike formed a party and won an election but one has to remember that he was a political legend. The late Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmuddali also formed a party but that paved the way for President Chandrika Kumaratunga to come to power,” he said.
Prof. Gunawardene and Prof. De Soysa said the UNP should find ways and means to rebuild ties with the Buddhist community and with the monks. “Criticising and insulting monks played a great contribution to the party’s defeat,” Prof de Soysa said.
Voicing his personal opinion, he said NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa was brought to the forefront and fielded prematurely.
"There was a great distance between the ministers of the former regime and the people,” Prof. de Soysa said. (Yohan Perera)