Sunday Observations: The Political Column
Ranil to hold Mahinda's hand
The era of confrontation between the two major political parties,the
SLFP and the UNP now seem to be over after fifty five years. The Heads
of the two Committees set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to evolve a path to work together have
successfully done their deliberations.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake and Karu Jayasuriya who led
the two sides ended talks on a positive note last week. An agreement is
to be reached shortly to work together on core national issues.
Contrary to claims in certain quarters about a rift within the UNP on
the plan to work with the government, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
now in Sydney, Australia telephoned his deputy, Karu Jayasuriya on
Thursday to tell the latter that Wickremesinghe would on his return to
Colombo on Tuesday (9) would seek a one to one meeting with President
Rajapaksa to discuss the modalities of working with the government.
Wickremesinghe told Jayasuriya that he was very supportive of the
consensus reached between the two sides and would extend his fullest
cooperation to the President to resolve all crises that had befallen the
Jayasuriya thanked his leader for the positive response. The UNP as a
party has now decided to support the President. This was evident from
the outcome of the meetings of the Parliamentary Group and the Working
Committee last week. At the Parliamentary Group meeting, the UNP MPs
expressed satisfaction over the manner the President and the government
was handling the security situation in the country.
They claimed that the President was keen on peace despite provocative
attacks by the LTTE. The MPs also expressed satisfaction claiming that
the President was inviting the LTTE for peace talks from a position of
strength unlike in the past.
After the group meeting, the MPs who met in groups in the lobby were
heard saying that unlike other leaders in the past, President Rajapaksa
never boasted about military achievements under his administration. A
Kaluatara District UNP MP was heard saying that Rajapaksa was one leader
who never allowed political interference to the security forces who were
engaged in the task to save the country.
At the Working Committee, Ranil Wickremesinghe briefed the members on
the progress of the talks with the SLFP. He said the talks were very
positive and the government had accepted all six proposals placed before
the table. He opined that it was the duty of the UNP to support the
government and the President in those areas to pull the country out of
the present predicament.
This statement received an applause from the members present.
Wickremesinghe noted that his deputy Jayasuriya handled the talks in an
experienced manner and that was why the two sides proceeded with
The UNP leader then read the agenda before the committee to announce
that Lakshman Kiriella, Sarathchandra Rajakaruna and Sarath Ranawaka
were appointed to the party Working Committee and the UNP annual
convention would be held on November 19 in Colombo. Deputy Leader Karu
Jayasuriya sought leave to state that he was appointed Executive
Chairman of the UNP in January this year and he would relinquish that
post when the new party chairman was announced.Wickremesinghe then
announced the name of Rukman Senanayake as Chairman to succeed Malik
Samarawickreme with Tissa Attanayake as General Secretary.
Rukman's appointment was greeted by a round of applause with members
stating that the Senanayake days had come close to the 60th celebrations
of the party. These appointments are unlikely to be contested at the
convention as the UNP constitution does not provide for such a practice.
The party leader has been empowered to make all such appointments.
Jayasuriya, an ardent supporter of the Senanayake doctrine
Rukman.Jayasuriya, during the last presidential election recalled the
days of DS Senanayake and called for an end to confrontational politics
in the country. With the election of Rukman as Chairman, Jayasuriya had
played a vibrant role for the UNP at the talks with the SLFP to make his
dream a reality.
He has ended confrontational politics between the two major parties.
He has paved the way for President Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe to
work together. Now the road is clear for the two leaders to take the
nation forward and usher a new era in this country.
While Jayasuriya played that vibrant role for the UNP ,President
Rajapaksa as SLFP leader mooted the idea and invited the UNP for talks
to work together. The move succeeded with the UNP responding positively.
The two leaders are expected to have a one to one meeting early this
week. This positive approach in today's politics has now given hope and
courage to the people and the nation.