United National Party Parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya has requested Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to re-consider the decision taken by the UNP Working Committee to restrict its members from taking part in the rally on the 18th organised by the United Bhikkhu Front.
The MP had made this request by addressing a letter to the party leader today.
Karu Jayasuriya points out that he was disappointed to learn of the party’s Working Committee decision to restrict members of the UNP from attending the rally.
Karu Jayasuriya has emphasised that he disagrees with the Working Committee‘s decision on the matter.
In the letter, Karu Jayasuriya says that the United Bhikkhu Front has called upon all political parties which have expressed the desire to abolish the Executive Presidency to join together on a common platform.
Karu jayasuriya also notes that when the United National Party backed former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka as the common opposition candidate at the 2010 Presidential Election, the abolishment of the Executive Presidency was the key policy of that candidate.
In the letter, Karu Jayasuriay also says that Ranil Wickremesinghe should be in the forefront of this battle as the opposition leader and the leader of the single largest political party in the country.
Jayasuriya points out that the views of the parliamentary groups should also be taken into consideration in this regard.
The full text of the letter sent to Mr. Wickresinghe by Mr.Jayasuriya is reproduced below –
15th October, 2012
Hon. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe
Leader – United National Party
Working Committee Decision to Restrict UNP members from attending Oct 18thRally
I was disappointed to learn of the party’s Working Committee decision to restrict members of our party from attending a rally organized by the United Bhikku Front. As you are aware, the United Bhikku Front has called upon all political parties which have expressed the desire to abolish the Executive Presidency to join together on a common platform. I would also like to note that when the United National Party backed Gen. Sarath Fonseka as the common opposition candidate at the 2010 presidential election, the abolishment of the executive presidency was the key policy of that candidature.
Since the last presidential election, the executive presidency has gone from being a position of immense power to one of absolute, untrammelled and almost dictatorial power, with the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the constant onslaught on this country’s democratic institutions, including the legislature, the judiciary and the free media.
I have consistently stood against the increasingly dictatorial trends of the incumbent regime and strongly believe that as the main opposition the UNP must fight harder than ever to restore democracy and halt the autocratic march of the Rajapaksa Government. There was an open invitation to join the United Bhikku Front platform to fight for this cause and I, together with several other opposition politicians decided to participate since the UNP has consistently stood for the abolishment of the executive presidency and no change in this official position has been articulated to the membership thus far. I also believe that when the opposition unites under a single banner to fight a worthy cause and a system that a majority of this country agree is our collective curse, the people look to the UNP, as the single largest party in the country, to provide leadership.
However, while I am also an opposition representative, I am first and foremost, a UNP member. I disagree with the Working Committee’s decision on this matter and implore you to reconsider your position. I believe that to project the UNP as divided in any way at this juncture, would be detrimental to the opposition’s greater cause. I would like to reiterate however, that in my opinion, the UNP should rally its membership under this common banner and in your capacity as Opposition Leader and the Leader of the single largest political party in Sri Lanka, you yourself should be the front and centre of this campaign. If you reconsider your decision and allow me and other members of the UNP to attend this rally, and perhaps encourage others to join the campaign, it will signal to the people of this country, all of whom are seeking alternatives and leadership, that UNP remains committed to causes that truly matter to the masses, and does not make political decisions based on petty personal calculations.
Since this is an issue of critical national importance, I believe that your consultations should include not only the Party’s Working Committee but also its parliamentary group in which reside the elected representatives of the people. If the Working Committee is allowed the opportunity to express and articulate their views, as reasonable and right thinking people, I am convinced that they will see the importance of the UNP’s participation at this struggle and that to refrain from joining in will be akin to strengthening this government’s hand.
In the event you feel there is insufficient time to seek the views of the party’s senior membership before the October 18th rally, I implore you to bring the UNP to the platform even at a later date, because I believe this is not a struggle that will begin and end in a single day.