UNP MP Sajith Premadasa who is challenging UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for the party leadership is refusing to meet this week to finalise details of the new leadership proposal, party sources told Colombo Telegraph.
The UNP working committee decreed after a marathon four hour meeting yesterday that Wickremesinghe, Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya meet to work out details about how the proposed leadership council will function.
When Thursday was proposed for the crucial meeting at the party’s parliamentary group meeting today Premadasa said he was unavailable. He said he would not be able to meet with Wickremesinghe and Jayasuriya till next week UNP sources who were at the meeting said.
Until the three leaders meet the working committee cannot go forward the sources said.
Colombo Telegraph learns that Premadasa is being advised by his backers, specifically the Sirasa media network owner Kili Rajamahendran and businessman Tiran Alles to employ delaying tactics against the setting up of the council because once it is formed Karu Jayasuriya will assume prominence. The working committee has proposed Jayasuriya be appointed chairman of the leadership council.
The previous time about 10 days ago when a compromise was nearly reached premadasa’s backers insisted he openly demand the UNP leadership and presidential nomination. Premadasa’s handlers do not want a compromise reached in the UNP that would enable the party leader Wickremesinghe to remain in the position.
Premadasa has said he will be available to meet next week.