Ranil and his cohorts to blame for UNP’s downfall - SJB Gen Secy Madduma Bandara | Sunday Observer

Ranil and his cohorts to blame for UNP’s downfall - SJB Gen Secy Madduma Bandara

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his group should be held fully responsible for the downfall of the UNP and its worst ever electoral defeat on August 5. In an interview with the Sunday Observer he said the people have given a perfect answer to the UNP due to the grave mistakes committed by its leader and his close associates to ruin the party over the past 26 years. He said it was the UNP Working Committee which granted permission to form a new political alliance under the leadership of Sajith Premadasa to contest the General Election. The UNP was split due to the decision taken by the UNP to contest the election separately, completely going against the decision taken by the UNP Working Committee.

Q. What led the SJB to face such an electoral defeat securing only 54 Parliamentary seats?

A: We are a new political party. We formed the SJB two months before the election and we carried out our election campaign only during one and a half months. Therefore, we are happy that we have been able to become the main Opposition in Parliament. We are also happy about the election results. When our party men had got stranded, we were able to rally r them around the SJB banner and place their confidence in it.

Q. The total number of votes obtained by the SJB has been drastically reduced when compared to the total number of votes obtained by SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa at the last Presidential Election. Your comments?

A: At the Presidential Election, we could also secure the votes from the Northern and the Eastern provinces. However, the TNA and some other Tamil political parties contested this election separately. In addition, nearly one million people had not cast their votes at the August 5 General Election.

Q. The UNP suffered the worst ever defeat in history by securing only 249, 435 votes and they could secure only one National List slot. Would you like to comment on this?

A: The people

have given a very good answer to the UNP due to not making any reforms within the party over the past many years. As my former political party, I am very regretful about the present plight faced by the UNP.

Q. However, after the electoral defeat, some UNP frontliners said that the party had to face such a massive electoral defeat due to a rift created by the UNP breakaway group forming the SJB.

A: It was the UNP Working Committee which granted permission to form a new political alliance under the leadership of Sajith Premadasa to contest the General Election. The UNP was split due to the decision taken by the UNP to separately contest the election by completely going against the decision taken by the UNP Working Committee. Therefore, UNP Leader RanilWickremesinghe and his group should be held fully responsible for creating this situation in the UNP.

Q. Do you think that if the SJB and the UNP jointly contested the election, the outcome of the election result would have been different?

A: Definitely. If the UNP acted in accordance with the decision taken by the Working Committee, we would have secured at least four million votes.

Q. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and all other prominent UNP leaders who contested the election suffered a humiliating defeat. Does this mean that the party supporters have lost their confidence in the UNP?

A: The people at the August 5 election have given a perfect answer to the UNP due to the grave mistakes committed by the UNP leader and his close associates to ruin the party over the past 26 years. Therefore, we formed a new political movement for the UNPers and that is why over three million UNPers joined hands with us.

Q. What is your future political program? Do you think the SJB and the UNP should join hands or the SJB should continue its affairs as a separate polity entity?

A: We invite those who have engaged in clean and genuine politics in the UNP to join hands with us. When looking at the manner in which the people have rejected the UNP at the election, we have no intention of going back to it. The people have given us a mandate to continue our politics as the SJB. Therefore, we would act accordingly.

Q. As the main Opposition in Parliament, how do you plan to conduct your political activities?

A: As the Opposition, we have been entrusted wit a great task to fulfill. The Opposition looks like the alternative Government. We hope to fulfill our duty in a more responsible manner and topple this government as early as possible. We would make necessary arrangements to transform the SJB into the country’s major political entity and take every possible measure to secure its victory at the next General Election.

Q. The SJB and other Opposition parties during their election campaign requested the people not to give a two-thirds majority to the Government. However, the people have given a resounding mandate to the SLPP and as a single political party it has been able to secure 145 seats in Parliament. Your comments?

A: We greatly respect the people’s verdict and there is no issue about it.

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