Opposition United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today rejected allegations made against him and the party by former MP Dayasiri Jayasekara in Parliament on July 24.
While announcing his resignation from Parliament, Mr. Jayasekara hurled various allegations against Mr. Wickremesinghe.
He responded to these allegations in a detailed statement in Parliament.
Mr. Wickremesinghe began his statment with a stanza from the Dammapada, ‘Manopubbangama dhamma-manosettha manomaya,manasa ce padutthena-bhasati va karoti va-tato nam dukkhamanveti-cakkamva vahato padam.’
It means “All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha' follows him just as the wheel follows the hoof print of the ox that draws the cart.
Reading out the Sinhala meaning of this verse, Mr. Wickremesinghe said Mr. Jayasekara was having a dialogue with the government for more than one year hoping for a political crossover and it was a fact known to many in both the ruling party and the opposition.
He said amid talks about an early provincial council election in the area, Mr. Jayasekara had renewed talks with the government on his plan to switch allegiance to the government.
“Since it was difficult to cross over to the government in Parliament for a Cabinet portfolio at this time, he directed his dialogue with the government for a deal to contest the North Western Provincial Council Election as the chief ministerial candidate. For that he wanted to resign from Parliament as it was a legal requirement,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
Against this backdrop Mr. Wickremesinghe said there was stiff opposition to the proposal to appoint Mr. Jayasekara as the head of the UNP’s trade union wing called ‘Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS)’ because he was having secret negotiations with the government.
“JSS leaders were opposed to it. Therefore, I was not in a position to give him such a responsibility. It is a question of his credibility. Later Mr. Jayasekara made public statements that he would never quit the UNP. When former Minister Anura Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) was having talks with the then President D.B. Wijetunga (UNP), SLFP leader Sirimavo Bandaranaike expelled him from the party. Yet, we considered whether such action should be taken against Mr. Jayasekara or a chance should be given to him. We gave him a chance because he assured us that he would not leave the party. He was facing disciplinary inquiries over his remarks criticising the party’s convention. He said some of his remarks were exaggerated by the media. Mr. Jayasekera admitted that he made some critical remarks. He assured in writing that there would not be a repetition of such acts hereafter,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
He said the party settled disciplinary inquiries against Mr. Jayasekara. On July 11, according to Mr. Wickremesinghe, Mr. Jayasekara had met the officials of the disciplinary committee, and regretted the statements made.
He said he only made way for Mr. Jaysekara to reach new heights in politics.
“For the first time, I asked him to contest the 2001 general election in the Kurunegala district. He was the last in the list at that time. He was again fielded for the 2004 election. He was elected but as the last member in the list of those elected. I gave him opportunities. I even appointed him the deputy chief opposition whip. If not for my decisions, he would have not got any chance to do parliamentary politics,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)