UNP sure of victory at a National Election - Western Provincial Councillor Niroshan Padukka
The United National Party founded by its leader D.S. Senanayake way
back in 1946, had been a formidable political force since its inception
till about the beginning of the new century. However, it experienced ups
and downs in between but never remained in the Opposition for more than
one parliamentary term prior to 1994. Since then its performances in the
national politics has suffered badly mainly due to the atrocities
committed by the ruthless LTTE. Following the repeated defeats suffered
by the party, quite naturally the internal conflicts also erupted
further driving the party to political doldrums.
In this backdrop the party hierarchy with the unanimous approval of
the working committee and its stakeholders fully reorganised the party
structure to regain the lost glory of the party. With its
reorganisational activities the party had already shown some improvement
with the results of the last provincial council election.
At present all the front runners of the party had buried their petty
differences and work as a single unit to capture power at a future
national election which could be held probably by the end of next year.
The Sunday Observer conducted an exclusive interview with one of the
upcoming Provincial Councillors in the Western PC, Niroshan Padukka to
ascertain the present position of the party, its activities and how they
hope to launch the campaign to woo support of the people at a future
election and the general political situation in the country.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q: You are representing the WPC as a member for the third
consecutive term. Do you think that you have rendered enough service to
the people of the WPC as a member?
A: As an Opposition PC member we get only a megre allocation
from the council funds to work for the people in the province. However,
it doesn't mean that we totally depend on it to work for the people in
the area. I have lot of other schemes from which I draw funds to work
for the people.
Apart from the material benefits that we provide to the people, as
Opposition members our duty is to monitor the activities of the ruling
party for better governance.
There had been a number of occasions in the past that we objected to
some of the people- unfriendly measures that UPFA was trying to
implement and they were forced to withdraw them although they had a
clear majority in the council.
Q: Some political critics say that PCs are a white elephant
and it should be abolished and more powers should be vested with the
Local Government bodies? How do you respond to this allegation?
A: Well the PC system was introduced way back in 1987 by the
then leader of the country J.R. Jayewardene under the 13th Amendment to
the Constitution as a solution to the long-drawn out North East problem.
Since then it was deeply rooted in the entire political fabric of the
country. SLFP and JVP who outright rejected it when it was first
introduced, have now embraced it more than even the UNP. PC system has
now become virtually indispensable in Sri Lankan politics.
I personally think that the Provincial Councils can do a great
service to the country provided the ruling party, whatever it may be
honestly and transparently discharge their functions without resorting
Q: There is also an allegation by some quarters that senior
parliamentarians of both major parties have used the PCs as a breeding
ground for their siblings to enter parliament in future. Do you agree
A: Seniors grooming their siblings to replace them in politics
had been there from the inception of party system in the country. Not
only in Sri Lanka, even in other countries there are enough instances
where the children of politicians had entered politics. Before the PC
system was introduced some senior parliamentarians groomed their
children through local bodies and most of them ended up as successful
national politicians. I don't personally think that it is a bad thing
provided the children are seriously interested in working for their
But most unfortunately what has happened today is that most of the
parliamentarians are hellbent on getting the candidature for their sons
and daughters whether they are interested in politics or not.
Q: What is happening in your party with regard to Uva PC
elections scheduled to be held shortly?
A: We had been anxiously waiting for this election as we are
pretty sure that we would be victorious. Our party had already prepared
the nomination list with a formidable and vibrant set of winning
candidates headed by the young and most popular Harin Fernando who is
sure to deliver the goods.
Q: You are a well qualified Chartered Marketeer and a banker.
What made you to involve in this cumbersome profession of politics when
you can enjoy a rosy life with your profession?
A: Well, the social service has been in my blood from my
school days and I derive a great satisfaction by attending to peoples
I have my roots in the United National Party. My uncle was the one
time treasurer of our party.
My father lost only by five votes to Samaraweera Chandrasiri at the
local polls in early sixties. I became the Secretary of the UNP Youth
League in Colombo district in 1994 at a comparatively young age. Two of
my colleagues then Dhanasiri Amaratunga and Muditha Peiris left our
Q: It is the bone of contention in political circles at
present that a common candidate should be fielded at the next
Presidential Election. What is your party's stand on that?
A: Our party has very clearly stated whoever the candidate may
be, he should be from the United National Party under the elephant
symbol. If any party is agreeable it can also join us.
Q: In that case JVP may not align with you to field a common
A: If they had supported Chandrika Bandaranaike and Mahinda
Rajapaksa at previous elections on the promise of abolishing the
Executive presidency, why can't they support the UNP on the same
undertaking? There is no rationale behind it?
The JVP has completed 50 years in politics now and still they have
only 7% of voter support. They should realise their position and if they
are genuinely interested in abolishing the Executive presidency they
should support the UNP even at this eleventh hour without resorting to
Q: In the event of a victory for your party at the
Presidential Election, what is the guarantee that Ranil Wickremesinghe
will abolish the Executive Presidency?
A: Our party has already formulated a draft constitution for
the country as directed by our leader and I am 200 percent certain that
he never goes back on what he says. He had proved in the past that he
was a thorough democrat.
Q: What are your chances of winning the next national
A: With the prevailing political and economic situation in the
country, and with our party's reorganisational activities and the far
sighted political strategies that we have in the pipeline we are quite
confident that we can form a UNP government at the next national
election-may it be the presidential or general.
Q: You are the UNP Chief Organiser of the Kesbewa electorate
and your former boss is a powerful minister in the cabinet. Do you think
that you can win the electorate for the party at a future election?
A: How many senior and powerful ministers had been defeated in
the previous elections in the country due to wrong economic policies of
the governments and various other factors which the average and moderate
people do not approve. With our reorganisational activities, we can
definitely mobilise the masses against this government and win the next