Rejecting allegations that the party Candidate Sajith Premadasa's election campaign was sabotaged, current UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said eroding of votes for the party in the South was one of the main reasons for its defeat at the recent presidential elections.
Mr. Wickremesinghe who made this remark addressing some party activists for the first time after the recent presidential election stressed the need to focus on revamping the party without pointing fingers at each other for the electoral defeat.
“I nominated former Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa as our candidate for the presidential election and the Party unanimously approved his candidature. We contested the election together with a number of other parties. I can assure that those in Sirikotha and others in the party machinery had done their job. I reject the allegations that have been made by some that the campaign was sabotaged. We gave responsibilities to various persons including the members of parliament. They have fulfilled these responsibilities. I undertook the responsibility of wooing the voters in the North and the East. I have been able to increase the party’s votes in these two areas. Our votes have eroded in the South. That was the main reason for our defeat. We have not got the desired response from the people for the activities which our government carried out such as development, ensuring democracy and law and order,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
He said the UNP has come up with a new leader who could win elections and build a new look to the party.
“We need to focus on the future of the party and have to come up with new leadership to the party, which should be given the task to come out with new policies to the party. We need to create a new leader who could win elections. Party reforms will be completed once that is done. We will get the opportunity of going along with a new leadership then. As Buddhists pointing fingers at each other is not what one should be doing. We need to understand as to where we went wrong. Then we can correct ourselves. Therefore we need to focus on a new programme and create a new UNP with the blessings of the Maga Sangha,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
“We have to focus on determining as to why the UNP had lost its Sinhala Buddhist base image which it possessed once and have to review the situation. It would be possible to move ahead only if we undertake such an exercise. We will not be successful if we spend time pointing fingers at each other,” he added.
Mr. Wickremesinghe then refuted the allegations that are being made on misusing of party funds. No officer bearer was given responsibility on financial matters of the party. This matter should be probed and action should be taken on those who are responsible if the allegations being made with regard to party funds are true,” he said. (Yohan Perera)