UNP votes will leak to Anura Kumara, says Rohitha

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  • MP says Anura Kumara candidacy will splinter UNP votes 
  • But insists SLPP candidate still front runner to be next President 
  • G.L. concerned over efforts to attempt holding PC polls before mid-Oct.  


Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s announcement as a Presidential candidate will eat into the United National Party (UNP) vote base, an official said yesterday.   

United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Parliamentarian Rohitha Abeygunawardena participating at a press conference with Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Opposition Leader’s office stressed that the number of votes available to the UNP will dwindle with the announcement of Dissanayake. 

“We are still confident that our candidate is the best. There is no doubt of that. People flock to wherever he goes. But the UNP is still struggling to name a candidate. While they are embroiled in disagreements within the party Anura Kumara Dissanayake has taken the offensive and announced his candidature. He will appeal to UNP voters who are unhappy with the leadership of the UNP and its activities over the last four years,” Abeygunawardena said. 

He emphasised that internal issues will undermine the UNPs chances at the upcoming Presidential Election as they are up against a stronger contender in the form of SLPP Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He said the divisions within the UNP have been laid bare with their members holding rallies without the approval of party leadership in different parts of the country. 

“The UNP was already on the back foot even before we announced our candidate. Now they are in even bigger trouble. In our party it was not one person or party seniors who decided the candidate. It was the people. The people asked Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa for Gotabaya Rajapaksa and that request was honoured. This is what true democracy is,” he said. 

The combination of the two brothers was an advantage, Abeygunawardena went on to say, pointing out that while the younger Rajapaksa would focus on national security, the older Rajapaksa could use his considerable political acumen and experience to guide the country forward. 

“This is the perfect combination. This is a tried and tested formula. During the war the people saw this combination in action and how effective it was in defeating the LTTE. So they have confidence that this combination can do great things.” 

Prof. G.L. Peiris expressed displeasure of possible Provincial Council Elections being held before mid-October insisting it was a highly suspicious move by the Government, which had several years to hold the polls but had failed to do so. 

President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the Supreme Court to give its opinion on holding the Provincial Council Elections without a delimination report being approved by Parliament. The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the matter on Friday and will convey an opinion to the President before the end of August. 

“This Government has blocked holding Provincial Council Elections repeatedly. Now that knot has been handed over to the Supreme Court to solve. But we are deeply concerned by the timing and do not want the Provincial Council Elections to delay the Presidential polls,” he said.      

Pix by Chamila Karunarathne