By Rathindra Kuruwita
UNP backbenchers have decided to boycott parliamentary group meetings indefinitely as they believe party reforms have been complete eyewash, MP Hirunika Premachandra says. Fewer than 35 MPS attended yesterday’s UNP group meeting, as backbenchers and a number of state and deputy ministers boycotted it.
MP Premachandra said: “We decided against attending these meetings because we feel that we have been taken for a ride again. We supported Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, when a no-faith motion was moved against him, because we believed that he would fulfil his pledge to carry out party reforms. But we are disappointed.”
Hirunika said the backbenchers had thought Wickremesinghe would step down as the party leader after defeating the no-confidence vote. “They wanted to appoint another committee. I stood up and said appointing another committee was not enough. Then, they appointed a politburo. There was no need to appoint another committee, because Ruwan Wijewardene committee had done a thorough study and come up with a wonderful report. The report recommends that party leaders be elected, but the leadership opposed this recommendation, claiming that there no provision in the UNP constitution for such elections.”
However, if the party leadership wanted to change the Constitution, that could have been done easily, with the help of the Working Committee.
Premachandra said: “If the UNP loses elections in 2020, the Prime Minister will become the Opposition Leader, and it is the ordinary MPs who will face serious consequences. “He is used to being in the opposition. But what about us? What have we done for the people? We need genuine reforms to revive the party and serve the people.”