UNP's PC election results prove its popularity - Daya Gamage
By Jaliya Wijeyekoon
Provincial Council elections of 2014 to elect new members to Western
and Southern Provincial Councils were held recently and there were minor
differences in the vote base of the two major political parties while
the small parties have recorded a marginal growth in their votes.
Political analysts of UPFA and UNP made statements with regard to the
final results of the election although there was no significant change
in either council.
The Sunday Observer conducted an exclusive interview with the UNP's
National Organiser Daya Gamage to ascertain its position, party
activities and the future course of action with regard to the
forthcoming Uva Provincial Council election to be held later this year.
Q: The ruling UPFA has managed to
retain the power in both provinces at the recently concluded PC
With all your reorganisational
activities and propaganda work, you have failed to win either province.
What is the reason for this repeated defeats of your party?
A: You have to assess and
analyse the results of this election on a broader perspective rather
than jumping into conclusions on figures.
This is not a national election where you could change governments.
The Central government is UPFA, Presidency is held by UPFA Leader and
most of the Local bodies of both these provinces are governed by the
So the general feeling of the people is such that no significant
change could be effected by defeating a Provincial Council. However, our
campaign during the election was to give a clear signal about the defeat
of the UPFA at a future national election and we have-satisfactorily
When you deeply scrutinise the electoral results, it is quite evident
that UNP has achieved a marginal increase in all electorates.
Q: There is something wrong somewhere
when the new Leadership Council failed to garner more votes for the
party at the recent PC polls. Could you explain as to what went wrong?
A: Nothing went wrong with
the Leadership Council. It was a great strength to the party mechanism
and Jana Jaya concept was a success. Some of the political opponents who
are shaken due to our steady progress, cast various aspersions at the
Leadership Council. Leadership Council was not formed to canvass votes
from house to house during elections, but to see the smooth functioning
of the party with innovative ideas, and programs with the intention of
forming a UNP government at a future election. The primary objective of
the leadership council was to kick start the party for a future victory
at a general election.
Q: You and Ranjan Ramanayake had
expressed willingness to contest the PC polls from Colombo and Gampaha
districts. Why didn't the nomination board consider your request?
A: Yes, I casually sounded
my desire to contest from the Colombo district. But the stark reality is
that I had been able to consolidate our vote base in the Eastern
Province as the Ampara district leader of the party well above the UPFA
strength. The Nomination Board felt and I too realised that my presence
in Ampara would be more important to the party at a future general
Q: The internal tug-of-war within the UNP came to the open when those
blacklisted such as Maithree Guneratne and Shiral Lakthilake actively
involved in the Sajith Premadasa's election campaign at Hambantota
despite restrictions imposed by the leadership. Isn't this tantamount to
revolt against the party?
A: Definitely yes. The working
committee has discussed this issue in detail and informed the General
Secretary to appoint a committee to look into this matter.
Q: The results of the PC
elections give hopes that the UNP vote base could be improved provided
the party hierarchy could neutralise the radicals, extremists and
dissidents and form a strong front to win future elections.
A: Yes, we admit the fact that we
were bogged down in the Opposition for so long mainly due to some rifts
among our members. We have now sorted out most of our problems or
The leadership council is constantly
engaged in a friendly dialogue with all members in the party to ensure
absolute unity in the party and as the National Organiser of the party I
am quite confident that the day is not too far that everybody will shed
all petty differences and launch an aggressive campaign against the
government at a future National election.
Q: The public sentiment is
that only if you infuse young blood that the party could be rescued from
the state of slumber. How do you respond to this allegation?
A: I fully agree with you and we have taken steps to infuse young
blood into all activities of the party recently. Most of the new
electoral organisers whom we appointed recently are young and vibrant
youth. Last week, following the PC elections our party appointed young
Tennakoon Nilame as the Opposition leader of the Southern Provincial
Council and Harshana Rajakaruna was appointed the Chief Opposition whip
of the Western Provincial Council.
There are a number of young members in the working committee too. We
are in the process of restructuring our student councils in the
When you want to criticise anything with malice you can find enough
and more reasons. That is exactly what some bankrupt political stooges
are engaged in and they are looked after by the parties with vested
Q: Grassroot level resurrection is a
prime need today. Is there any blueprint for such a move?
A: We have launched a
comprehensive restructural program from late last year covering all the
electorates in the country including North and East.
Our electoral organisers are given targets to achieve during a
stipulated time frame. Party branch units, youth leagues and Lakvanitha
branches have been set up in all electorates. Party activities, news and
new programs are transferred to the grassroot level membership through
these local organisations.
Electoral organisers are summoned to the party headquarters every now
and then and brief them about the party's new programs and they are
expected to carry the messages to the party grassroot level membership
through local organisations. We hope to conduct political leadership
training sessions for the rural youth in the near future.
We hope to revitalise the propaganda machinery of the party adopting
innovations and modern technology by which we hope to popularise our
party among all segments of the society.
Q: Uva Provincial Council election is
scheduled to be held late this year. How is your party's preparation for
A: We have already
formulated our propaganda program for the Uva election. On 10th and 11th
of May we will conduct a religious program all over the Badulla
district. Simultaneously we will conduct a membership recruitment drive
too in the district which will be named as Jana Jaya Grameeya Charika.
The party is in the process of identifying prospective candidates to
field in addition to the sitting members. We are quite confident the UNP
will have a significant increase in its vote base at the Uva Pc
Q: your party had decided to have
your main May Day rally in Ampara deviating from the long standing
tradition of having it in the city. What is the reason for this dramatic
A: May Day is basically a
workers' and peasants' day and our party decided to hold the May Day
rally in Ampara to give the pride of place to the peasants in the
district who contribute immensely to the production of the staple food
of the nation.
First Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake initiated Galoya Multi Purpose
Development Project and J.R. Jayawardene's Mahaveli Diversion project
had been of paramount importance to the people in the East for which
they are ever grateful to these leaders.
So as a token of gratitude to those leaders and appreciating the
contribution of the people in the Eastern province, our party decided to
hold the main May Day rally in Ampara in 2014.