By Lahiru Pothmulla and Sanath Desmond
The United National Party (UNP) Uva Province chief ministerial candidate Harin Fernando said yesterday he would not accept MP Ruwan Wijewardene’s proposal to appoint him as Chairman of the UNP National Youth Front (NYF).
“I’m truly honoured and touched by his gesture but I don’t want to be NYF Chairman by ousting Ruwan. He should continue as the Chairman and I will always help him. He has already launched many programmes through the NYF with an upcoming general election in mind,” he said and added that Mr. Wijewardene was an honest politician with good qualities.
Mr. Fernando said Mr. Wijewardene would also have to give up his membership in the Leadership Council should he resign as NYF Chairman.
“This is a huge sacrifice. I rejected his suggestion when he informed me of the decision yesterday. He has taken the decision even without informing the National Leader. No one knew about the decision until the last minute,” he told a news conference at Sirikotha. Mr. Fernando, who topped the list of preferential votes in Badulla District, said he was the Chief Minister selected by the people though he may not be the Chief
Minister on paper.
"This is a huge sacrifice. I rejected his suggestion when he informed me of the decision yesterday. He has taken the decision even without informing the National Leader. No one knew about the decision until the last minute"
“That is why I was able to receive 173,933 preferential votes. No matter what the UPFA Government says in an effort to dilute our victory, the people know that the real winner is none other than the UNP,” he said and added that the Uva Provincial Council has been rewarded with a strong and active opposition which would continue to pressure the ruling party to do what’s correct for the people.
“The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) administration in Uva will have no chance of getting away from its responsibilities.
The UPFA Government has already reduced prices of goods fearing a revitalized opposition. It can’t fool the people all the time and any longer,” he said.
Mr. Fernando said the party had ironed out whatever differences that were present within the UNP and it was now strong enough to conquer any political enemy or overcome any political obstacle.
“With the appointment of MP Sajith Premadasa as Deputy Leader and with the other appointments, we have today made a fresh start for the better. We have teamed up to win any upcoming election. We have highlighted the hardships and concerns of the people and we will continue to do so,” he said. Mr. Fernando said the Elections Commissioner should take the responsibility for the post-election violence and violations taking place in the province.