Cause for floundering of alliance with UNP: Palitha | Daily News


‘SJB failing to present a constitution on time’

Cause for floundering of alliance with UNP: Palitha

The proposed United National Party-Samagi Jana Balawegaya (UNP-SJB) alliance has floundered because the SJB failed to present a constitution on time, MP Palitha Range Bandara said. He was addressing a press conference at the UNP headquarters, yesterday.

“The Chairman of the Elections Commission has informed the working committee that it would be risky to amend the party’s constitution at this stage. Therefore, we decided to come to an agreement and gave the Sajith’s faction until March 4 to present a constitution. However, they showed no interest. So, we decided to contest under the elephant symbol,” Bandara said.

The MP said that UNP Leader MP Ranil Wickremesinghe has shown great interest to contest the general election through a broad coalition at the working committee meeting held on January 30. He added that Wickremesinghe had appointed Sajith Premadasa as the leader of the coalition, and that the chairmanship of the nominations board was also given to him.

Furthermore, it was requested to give majority state to the UNP in making decisions within the coalition. The power to discuss with the other constituent parties was given to Premadasa. The secretary of the coalition can be proposed by former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa. Meanwhile, the nominee must be a UNP party member and must be presented to the working committee, he said.

At the same working committee meeting, it was decided that the election must be operated centering Sirikotha. Apart from that, Premadasa and Wickremesinghe were given powers to appoint new organisers. Accordingly, at the working committee meeting held on February 10, Ranjith Madduma Bandara was unanimously appointed the secretary of the coalition, Bandara said.

The first working committee meeting report was proposed by John Amaratunga as an accurate report, and it was seconded by MP Lakshman Kiriella, he added. Bandara denied the statement by MP Kiriella, stating that the UNP discouraged the formation of the coalition as he seconded the working committee meeting report as an accurate one. Adding to that, at the same meeting, it was decided to offer the Prime Minister candidacy to Sajith Premadasa. Moreover, Premadasa was given powers to draft the constitution, the MP said.

Bandara added that the discussion of the symbol came up along the way, and that the majority was in favour of utilising the elephant symbol. In case the other constituent parties objected it, the symbol of the swan was to be used. MPs Ravi Karunanayake and Ranjith Madduma Bandara had stated that swan could not be utilised after having discussions with the Election Commission.

Bandara said that Sajith Premadasa did not present a constitutional draft even in the working committee held on February 28, and that he had said the party constitution would be amended and presented. The telephone symbol had come up at this working committee meeting. It was proposed by MP Kabir Hashim. Only eight members voted in favour of the symbol, he added.

Former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa had stated at the working committee meeting held on March 1 that that the constitution of the alliance would be presented on March 4, but neither Premadasa nor Madduma Bandara was present on that day, the MP said.

MP Bandara also challenged former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa to an open debate regarding the facts he presented. He added that the SJB still has time to join with the UNP and contest under the elephant symbol.


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