Nobody wanted UNP leadership change, says Navin | Sunday Observer

Nobody wanted UNP leadership change, says Navin

New UNP National Organiser and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said nobody in the UNP Parliamentary Group or the Working Committee which met several times after the LG elections ever pressed for change of the party leadership; neither did it emerge at the UNP Politburo meetings.

Addressing the media at Sirikotha, the party headquarters, yesterday, for the first time, following his appointment as the National Organiser, Minister Dissanayake said those who speak for a change of leadership need to offer an alternative. Even now, there is no issue before us for a change of the leadership. The Minister said except for a difference of opinions, there is hardly anything to dislodge the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Even at the time of the No Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister, the President never asked anybody to support it.

He said, “The Cabinet needs to be reshuffled on a scientific basis and the President himself has concurred. I believe such changes will materialise in the proposed Cabinet reshuffle.”

The Minister said it is time for the UNP to eliminate the gap between the party and its supporters and thereby revitalise mutual relations. The UNP enjoys a 33 percent vote base. One of the aims behind the appointment of a second rung of leaders is to win the support of the moderate sections.

Even the Ruwan Wijewardene Committee has recommended to elect suitable people to top party positions but it has not made any reference for a secret vote when such appointments are made.

He said a second rung of leaders has been appointed to take the party on a new direction and rectify shortcomings. Those who elected to the posts have a bounden duty to take the party on a victorious path. Team spirit needs to be established in the party leaving no room for individual action.

Minister Dissanayake said that at the recently concluded LG election, the people gave a strong message that they are not satisfied with the Government’s performance and its welfare activities. Therefore, more resources are needed as a party to satisfy the interests of the people particularly at grassroots level. A dialogue has to be launched as to how the funds should be allocated targeting the needy areas.

He said as a party, he cannot be satisfied with the party’s overall performance at the recently concluded LG election.

“My candid effort is to build up teamwork within the party and take the party on to the road to victory along with new General Secretary. At present, the UNP has over 3,300 Provincial Council and Local Government members.

The Minister said since 1994, thousands of UNP supporters have been politically victimised, but no redress has been given to nearly 90 percent of them. A committee appointed under the chairmanship of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has already collected data of those who had been victimised. He said he hopes that some sort of relief will be given to them within the next two to three months.