UNP Kurunegala district MP Dayasiri Jayasekera speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS admits that he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament at the Ports and Highways Ministry Consultative Committee meetings. He however said he never met the president at Temple Trees as alleged by the UNP hierarchy.
A report has been handed over to the party’s Disciplinary Committee by party general secretary Tissa Attanayake against you. What is your stand on that?
At the very outset I must tell you that I do not know what sort of a report has been handed over by the general secretary concerning me to the party’s Disciplinary Committee.
In any case there is already a disciplinary case that is being heard against me. And if there are further charges or allegations against me I am quite willing to face up to them, and I for one will not run away from such inquiries.
One of the main allegations they have levelled at you is that you had apparently met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa for an audience. However you denied such a meeting but the media disclosed that the UNP has gathered details concerning such a meeting. What are your views?
To prove such an allegation then will have to summon the president as a witness. So we will see how this turn of events pans out. If they could prove such allegations then I am ready to face up to the consequences of it.
Tell us, honestly, did you have an audience with the president as reported by the media?
That is an utter fabrication. Then the president must say publicly that I met him but even he has not done anything of the kind.
This allegation has been directed at me by a reporter of a Sinhala-language Sunday newspaper.
When I questioned this particular reporter as to why he made such a baseless allegation concerning me, he said that he was forced to direct such a charge against me by the UNP leader in the form of an article in that paper.
That article also alleged that I had met with Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. The root cause for this conspiracy being hatched against me by the party leader was the public disappointment that I had expressed against Ranil Wickremesinghe on his move to extend the UNP leadership reins by six years having arbitrarily dispensed with the election of the leader through the secret ballot.
I was a very vocal critic of this action by Wickremesinghe as I felt that the leader had no right to blatantly violate the party’s Constitution to achieve his vested interests.
So have you met with President Rajapaksa even outside Temple Trees since these allegations broke out?
Yes, I have met him several times recently when he arrived at Parliament to participate in the Consultative Committee meetings there.
As I also serve in several such committees I happen to meet with the president at the Parliament complex and not necessarily so at Temple Trees.
Didn’t you talk politics with the president in your deliberations with him?
What bloody politics? We only discussed the day to day issues faced by such ministries as Fisheries and Ports, etc.
Also if I wanted to meet the president personally then I would have done so having informed the party beforehand.
There are those who tend to have powwows with Rajapaksa ever so secretly but I am not of that ilk.
In other words what you are saying is that these are charges being levelled at you by some members of the UNP who clearly cannot stand your presence in the party anymore?
Yes, that is true.
Then the question that arises is, why are you being targeted or singled out through these allegations. Is it because you are not pro Ranil Wickremesinghe?
I guess pretty much so. Anyway this conspiracy has been hatched over a long period of time.
He (Wickremesinghe) clearly resents all who worked within the party agitating for reforms, having sided with MP Sajith Premadasa.
I was even expelled from the party’s Working Committee and several other posts which I held within the party.
This same plight befell MP Buddhika Pathirana as well. He is only an MP today just like me.
Then MP Rosy Senanayake has also been removed from the Working Committee and MP Ashoka Abeysinghe too has been removed from his post as an electoral organizer.
These are only a few examples. I can tell you that scores of other Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) members including Southern PC member Maithri Gunaratne, and Shiral Lakthileke and Ravi Jayawardene have also been at the receiving end of Wickremesinghe’s dictatorial style of leadership in the UNP.
These are only various forms of taking vengeance from those who openly and publicly oppose his dictatorial governance of the party.
But I will not be afraid to speak my mind against either Ranil Wickremesinghe or his dictatorial ways of leadership.
If he thinks that by taking disciplinary action against me that he will be able to silence me, then I would like to advice him to think twice because it is easier said than done.
You mentioned a few of the MPs and a some PS members of the UNP who have been unfairly dealt with by the party leader.What course of action do you intend to take against such injustice caused to scores of MPs and PS members of the party?
I must say most of such problems or issues that were prevalent in the past concerning such PS members were settled.
But my argument is at least now this party must be brought to one platform and made more effective in order to topple this regime.
As of now the UNP is like a rudderless ship and it does not even know which direction it is heading.
None of these issues could be solved by heading to the Courts.
The rigid style of leadership of the party must cease forthwith if the UNP is to unite before thinking of ousting this administration.
We also need to resolve all of our internal issues through dialogue and consensus.
Most of the people on the streets tend to believe that if you were to join ranks with the government you will be better served. This is because both Ranil Wickiremesinghe or even for that matter his deputy Sajith Premadasa is unlikely to ever give you your due place within the party. What are your views?
Well this is something that has to be decided in the future.
Even in the past there were those who vehemently opposed former leader J. R. Jayewardene but they still remained in the party sans ditching it in favour of another party.
When Mahinda Rajapaksa first sought the presidency he was not in a very favourable position back in 2005.
But the SLFP was forced to give the nomination to him, by and by. I am not that keen on posts, portfolios or honours.
I will continue to do politics with the masses and the more they try to hound me the more chances I have of becoming popular among the people, as my politics is all people-oriented and not individual based.
But all this time you were not able to serve all those who voted for you simply because you do not have political power or your party has not been in the government and continues to languish in the opposition. More than 61 UNP MPs ditched the party due to such reasons. What are your comments?
However, the UNPers on the street continue to insist that they do not want anything from the party.
They only want me to remain amongst them as long as possible. They only want me to remain in the opposition ranks and do whatever I have been doing for the people thus far.
They also told me that they will not ask for any jobs or any other facility like that. The majority of UNPers want the party to be further strengthened. They want the party to be brought back to power.
And once the party is in power they told me that they will come calling on my doorstep but not till then.
They want to see Dayasiri Jayasekera remaining in the UNP and doing his utmost to engineer its comeback from the political wilderness. And it is that very work that I am undertaking right now.
Don’t you feel that if Sarath Fonseka is roped into the UNP the party could be rejuvenated more than what it is right now?
That is true without a doubt.Actually, what has been an impediment for Fonseka so far is that he does not have the ideal political vehicle to travel at the moment.
He does not have a mainstream political party and there is no political framework.
But if he could be roped into the UNP I certainly think there will be a scope for a vibrant opposition in the country and which could oust this worthless regime.
But isn’t that wishful thinking that as long as Ranil Wickremesinghe remains at the helm of the UNP – that he will allow Sarath Fonseka to dictate terms to him having joined the party?
When the peoples’ decision is expressed then no politician will be able to work by overlooking the sentiments of the populace.
I am firmly of the belief that this journey to topple the Rajapaksa regime must be undertaken by joining hands with all those who are opposed to it.
If Wickremesinghe thinks that he will be able to do so through his henchmen or yes men alone, then he is living in a fool’s paradise. courtesy: Lakbima News