Hitting back against remarks made at a press conference by UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake on Monday former UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa says as a member of parliament with 13 years of experience, he has no lessons to learn from the Chandrika Kumaratunga model of politics.
“When Chandrika Kumaratunga contested the Provincial Council elections, she was politically naive and had no previous experience. For 13 years I have been a member of parliament voted in by the people. What possible lesson could I have to learn from the Chandrika Kumaratunga model?” Premadasa said in a statement issued to the media yesterday.
Attanayake told reporters on Monday that contesting for chief minister of a province could be a good launching pad for a longer political journey, making reference to a recent request by the UNP Matara Working Committee for Premadasa to contest as the UNP’s CM candidate in the soon to be declared Southern Provincial Council elections.
Premadasa said he would rather pursue his political career in his individual style.
“I have no interest in becoming a joke by choosing a wrong model to emulate,” he said in a release.
Premadasa said it was ironic that those who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the party’s success were being told that they did not know how to share in both victory and defeat. “From the day I entered active politics in the UNP, there was never much occasion to share victories but we have certainly shared defeats with the people,” the UNP MP said.
He charged that those making allegations against him were also those who had suffered abject defeats in their own elections and have had to enter parliament through the national list. “I have entered on the people’s vote. Not on a piece of paper,” Premadasa charged, in a clear reference to the party General Secretary.
He said all those who were making suggestions about how he should contest in provincial polls were those who were not interested in UNP victories but in destroying Sajith Premadasa. “All I have to say to them is that even if they must assassinate or destroy me, please do not destroy the UNP, the party for which I will always have much love,” Premadasa said..
The UNP’s internal battles are raging once more following the party’s massive defeats at the provincial elections and are regularly spilling out into the public domain.