- Venerable Buddhist monks have also given me their blessing
- Our task is to make our party a powerful force that could challenge the present Govt.
By Yohan Perera and Athula Bandara
UNP Deputy General Secretary Ruwan Wijewardene over the weekend announced that he will vie for the party’s leadership following requests made by many party members including those who contested for the recent general election.
Mr. Wijewardene made the announcement at a meeting held at the UNP office in Anuradhapura East on Saturday.
“Many UNP candidates and others in the party made requests from me to take over the leadership. Some telephoned me while others came from distant areas such as Ampara and Trincomalee to meet me personally and request me to take over the party.
Also, venerable Buddhist monks have also given me their blessing. Therefore, I would like to announce that I have decided to vie for the UNP leadership,” Mr. Wijewardene told the gathering amidst cheers.
“UNP should be turned into an effective alternative to the present government. This is a difficult task. However, we have to undertake it and go all over the country to wake the party membership. Also, we will have to determine where we went wrong and rectify the shortcomings. Our task is to make our party a powerful force that could challenge the present government,” he added.
Former MP Ashu Marasinghe said Mr. Wijewardene must take over the party leadership as he is suitable for that post given his qualities.
“We have seen how he dealt with criticism by opponents in the last Parliament. You can’t refuse or go backwards. Please take over the party leadership,” Professor Marasinghe told Mr. Wijewardene at the meeting.
Mr. Wijewardene and the team called on several prominent Buddhist prelates in Anuradhapura including chief incumbent of Atamasthana Ven. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera and were also engaged in religious observances at the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi during his visit.
- Many UNP candidates and others in the party made requests from me to take over the leadership
- UNP should be turned into an effective alternative to the present government. This is a difficult task