United National Party (UNP) stalwarts were shocked when two of its prominent MP’s demanded that party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe step down as Prime Minister following the poor performance of the party at the recent local govt elections
The Two MP’s who urged Ranil Wickremesinghe to step dow as prime minister were Colombo District MP Dr. Harsha de Silva and Polonnaruwa district MP Vasantha Senanayake
While Harsha de Silva Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Vasantha Senanayake is State Minister of Foreign Affairs.
These facts were revealed in the “Sunday Times”political column of February 18th 2018.
Relevant excerpts are –
“Wickremesinghe also had his own meeting to assess the outcome of the polls with his Ministers, MPs and party seniors. He opined that the elections were lost only due to two main reasons — the rising cost of living and the non-availability of fertilizer for paddy production. Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, whose Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) backs the UNP, countered the argument. He pointed out that in elections to the Maharagama Urban Council, the SLPP nominations were rejected. As a result Mahinda Rajapaksa backed an independent group (Group 2) which had the motorcycle as its symbol. He said Rajapaksa had gone for their rallies riding a motorcycle. They had won the election. He pointed out that Maharagama was not a paddy producing area. He said unless dramatic changes take place in the party, there was no hope. At present, he described the party as “Walking Dead.”
“A more disturbing note was struck by Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Wasantha Senanayake. Both shocked those present by asking that Wickremesinghe step down from the post of Prime Minister. This was bearing in mind the “future interests of the party.” Both claimed that they had no personal reasons for speaking out but felt ‘genuinely’ that the time has come for change in the party. Later, de Silva was in for a verbal barrage from UNP Chairman and Minister Samarawickrema for making those comments. Only three years ago, de Silva publicly said how honoured he was to work as the Prime Minister’s deputy minister”.
“Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Harin Fernando and Navin Dissanayake also criticised Minister Sagala Ratnayake. In their view, he had been responsible for the crisis with the President worsening. They were alluding to the inability of the President and the UNP Government to deliver on their election pledges. Minister and UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said there were a number of reasons for the UNP’s defeat. He said the leadership had done little for the party supporters and they had veered away. The party has antagonised the media and overall “did not do anything.”