By Akitha Perera
Pandemonium reigned at the UNP Working Committee Meeting, yesterday, at Sirikotha. Some MPs manhandled others over their disagreements on the symbol to be used by the UNP-led alliance.
Following a heated argument UNP senior MP Ravindra Samaraweera, who argued in favour of the Swan symbol, tried to hit his fellow MPs who favoured the Elephant symbol, but he was restrained by others.
Those who pushed for the elephant symbol gave in to pressure from rivals and agreed to contest under the Swan symbol of the UNP-led Samagi Jana Balawegaya, according to sources.
UNP General Secretary MP Akila Wiraj Kariyawasam confirmed that the party Working Committee meeting had ended with the agreement to contest under the Swan symbol.
The UNP Working Committee met with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding.
During the meeting several MPs including Naveen Dissanayake, Range Bandara, Daya Gamage, Wajira Abeywardena and Ruwan Wijewardene spoke of the need for contesting under the Elephant symbol.
MP Wijewardene pointed out that their alliance would have a better chance of winning if it contested under the Elephant symbol.
MP Naveen Dissanayake said that he always promoted the Elephant symbol and sought the approval of the Working Committee to contest under that symbol.
“Party leader Wickremesinghe said that a ten-member committee appointed to decide on the symbol for the next election had endorsed the Swan symbol and, therefore, arguing about the Symbol at that time was meaningless. The most important thing to be done was to meet the Chairman of the Elections Commission and inquire from him the legality and feasibility of using that symbol at the next election.
Accordingly, the Working Committee decided to meet the Elections Commission Chairman to inquire from him whether the new alliance could contest under the Swan symbol.