Sajith Premadasa faction more interested in capturing power at Sirikotha - former State Minister Dilum Amunugama | Sunday Observer

Sajith Premadasa faction more interested in capturing power at Sirikotha - former State Minister Dilum Amunugama

Former State Minister of Transport Services Management, Dilum Amunugama said, that the Sajith Premadasa faction is more interested in capturing the power of the UNP party headquarters Sirikotha rather than capturing power in Parliament. The former State Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said, the only thing in their mind now is who is going to capture Sirikotha and that it doesn’t seem as if they are interested in what will happen within the Parliament. He said this is the first time in history that you find candidates withdrawing after being nominated to contest. This clearly shows how disorganised both these UNP factions are.

Q: Is the Government confident of securing two-thirds majority at the upcoming General Elections on August 5?

A: Actually, we are not focused on only securing a two-thirds majority and we are trying to get the maximum. It may be even more than two-thirds. Anyway, we are all out to get the maximum victory possible within President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy that he pledged to the people before the Presidential Election. Thus, we have to put it to practice. Therefore, we would try our level best to get the maximum number of seats in Parliament.

Q: Former UNP Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera has decided not to contest the upcoming General Election while another two candidates who had given nominations from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have withdrawn their candidacy. Would you like to elaborate on this ?

A: I think this is all fixed and planned by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and propagated by Sajith Premadasa. Now, they are asking one by one to withdraw to show that Premadasa is highly disorganised. So, it seems to be working out well. This is the first time in history that you find candidates withdrawing after being nominated to contest the General Election.

Q: At present, the supporters of the UNP and the SJB are joining hands with the SLPP by pledging their support at the forthcoming elections. Your comments?

A: When some people who have been nominated for the Parliamentary Election as candidates are withdrawing, it is a very obvious reflection on the conduct of their leaders at grassroots level. At present, a huge number of people are together with the SLPP. Therefore, we would welcome everyone who is willing to join us and we need their support to go for a two-thirds or even may be beyond that. Therefore, we warmly welcome all of them and we are ready to work with them.

Q: Government lawmakers have raised concern on the Election Commission member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole’s statement in Jaffna on the SLPP. Would you like to comment on this?

A: That is a terrible situation. These Commissions were supposed to be independent. I don’t understand how a member of a three- member independent Commission comments about any political party. That shows that they are obviously not independent. The only thing shown by Hoole’s statement is that the Election Commission has not been independent from the very beginning and it is not yet independent. This is very clear to the people. I would say even the Chairman of the Election Commission is not independent. He is a person who raises concern on many minor issues. However, when there is an issue of one of its members making comments not to vote for the SLPP, he says that is a very minor incident. This shows that the Chairman of the Election Commission is also not independent.

Q: Prof. Hoole’s statement has also raised serious concern among Government lawmakers and various segments of society on the impartiality of the independent Commissions set up by the Yahapalana Government under the 19th Amendment. How do you view this situation?

A: The 19th Amendment was a grave mistake by the former Yahapalana Government. The main attraction of the 19th Amendment was these independent Commissions mainly such as the Election Commission and Police Commission. If you take the investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks, you can see how promotions had been given and certain officers had been put out of their positions though there was an independent Police Commission. The next is the Election Commission. We have an Election Commission and find one of its members asking the people not to vote for a particular political party which is running for the elections. It shows that the 19th Amendment was a huge blunder and I believe it should be amended again.

Q: When two UNP factions are fighting each other how they could face the upcoming General Election?

A: You could call it ‘political suicide’. You find two factions of the same party fighting each other even after signing their nominations. This has never happened in the political history of Sri Lanka and it clearly shows how disorganised both these factions are. At present, the Sajith Premadasa faction is more interested in capturing the power of the UNP party headquarters Sirikotha rather than capturing power in Parliament. The only thing on their mind now is who is going to capture Sirikotha and it doesn’t seem that they are interested in what will happen in Parliament.

Q: How do you respond to the opinion created among people that qualified and reputed people should be elected to Parliament?

A: It should have been like that from the very beginning. In some areas it has not been so. You should have qualified and dignified people in Parliament. However, qualified in what depends and it needs to be politically qualified as well.

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