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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 country.

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 understanding.

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 immediately congratulated

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.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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