The claim Dayasiri Jayasekara committed political hara-kiri by joining the government appears to stem from most of the United National Party (UNP) members out of bitterness rather than expressing their honest worries about Dayasiri’s political future. However, as it appears to us, the real issue they should be concerned about is not Dayasiri’s political future but the political fate of the UNP.
According to reports, Dayasiri is the 65th UNP Parliamentarian, under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, to join the government. Dayasiri was one of the few firebrands remaining in the UNP since most have left to “strengthen the arms” of President Mahinda Rajapaksa—so they coin it.
Whatever the reasons may have been, 65 members of the UNP have left the party and joined the government. It may have been personal or financial gains, ministerial portfolios, pardoning of crimes or other offences, being sidelined by the party leadership etc., prompted the UNPers to cross over to the government.
Those who were hurt by Dayasiri’s decision to join the government and become the Chief Ministerial candidate for the North Western Provincial Council under the UPFA ticket alleged that Dayasiri’s departure was also such a deal. Well, given the political culture that has been prevailing in Sri Lanka, the charge might be true. But who really cares? What matters is Dayasiri, who has a countrywide appeal as a politician, especially among the younger crowd, and wildly popular in the North Western Province, has joined President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government just before a Provincial Council election.
Those who name and shame him as a traitor who betrayed them and the party should now try to tackle the real problems that pushed people like Dayasiri to leave the party.
It was clear that Dayasiri who spoke his mind was sidelined by the UNP leadership. He was not given a leading role to play in the North Western Provincial Council elections despite being the most popular UNP politician in the region. He was also excluded from the committee that coordinates the North Western Provincial Council election.
Now there may have been good and sound reasons for these exclusions, which we are not privy to.
After the resignation of Dayasiri, UNP Parliamentarian Harin Fernando was seen telling news media that the way to reform the UNP was not to cross over to the government but try to rectify shortcomings while being in the party. Well as we know, some of the UNP politicians who tried to do that had to face disciplinary actions against them by the Working Committee of the UNP. So it is time for constructive criticism to be an effective weapon to reform the UNP.
It is also time for the UNP to put things into context being the oldest and the grandest political party in Sri Lanka and set things right rather than calling those who left the party traitors. However, some say the time has lapsed for the UNP to remedy the situation. But as they say, “better late than never.”
To say that Dayasiri was excluded from the committee that coordinated the NWP provincial election it a bare faced lie.A few days ago he apologised to the UNP leader for the disgusting lies he said about him He was pardoned and he stated that he would never leave the UNP. Can this man be trusted?
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