Former UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has hit back against attempts to make him contest the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council elections as the Party’s Chief Ministerial candidate, charging that “political eunuchs” within the UNP were attempting to relegate him to a provincial role.
“UNPers want me to be leader of this country, not Chief Minister of the South,” a suddenly outspoken Premadasa said yesterday, condemning those he called political has-beens and “eunuchs” for attempting to thrust him into a provincial poll battle in the Rajapaksa heartland.
“These bankrupt politicians who are looking longingly to the day when they can join forces with Chandrika Kumaratunga and wrest control of the SLFP once again are attempting to get me to contest a provincial election,” Premadasa said at a meeting yesterday.
“I would like to tell these ‘Website politicians’ and conspirators to at least now stop sabotaging the UNP,” he charged.
In the same breath, Premadasa also refers to the ruling Rajapaksa regime as “Rajapaksa Mahatturu”, a remark that has angered several UNP members.
The UNP’s Matara Working Committee passed a resolution recently, calling on Premadasa to contest as the party’s Chief Ministerial Candidate in the south to up the ante against the ruling regime. Premadasa has come out strongly against the call he says is being spearheaded by former SLFP strongman and current UNP Communications Director and MP, Mangala Samaraweera.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake speaking at a news conference today said there was nothing wrong with contesting as a Chief ministerial candidate and recalled that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had also commenced her road to the presidency as Chief Minister of the Western Province.
“It is nothing to scoff at and a good launch pad for greater political office,” Attanayake said.
Since the UNP’s devastating defeat in the provincial elections held on 21 September Premadasa has openly demanded the party leadership. Premadasa’s sudden outbursts come as UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been thrust into yet another leadership crisis and speculation abounds that he may even step down.
Several UNP members have criticised Premadasa’s demands to take over the party reins, saying he has never been a team player or shown himself willing to accept a challenge on behalf of the party. “This rejection of the Southern Chief Ministerial contest is quite similar,” one UNP member said on grounds of anonymity. “In this instance also Sajith is showing himself unwilling to step up to the challenge. He wants to be President but he is not sure of winning a Chief Ministerial contest, that is a fact,” the member said.
To listen Sajith Premada’s speech click here