Dayasiri failed to realise politics is an unhurried journey – Ranil

Ranil Wickremasinghe

Politics is an unhurried journey where one should move with prudence and patience. But, Dayasiri Jayasekera failed to realise this truth, UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Making a special statement, the Opposition Leader, quoting Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhit Hanh said, “We all have only a little time on earth and we should move slowly. Dayasiri failed to realise this.”

Wickremesinghe rejected in toto what former MP Dayasiri Jayasekera had said in Parliament on July 24, prior to resigning from his seat to contest the elections to the North Central Province on the UPFA ticket.

Wickremesinghe said: “Parliamentarians, both government and the Opposition, are well aware of the fact that former MP Dayasiri Jayasekera had been engaged in talks during the last year to join forces with the government. He had again held talks in the first half of 2013 to join the government, targeting the forthcoming elections to the North-Western Province. These talks were aimed at securing the Chief

Ministerial candidacy for Dayasiri as it was difficult to cross over to the government side and obtain a ministerial post. These facts were reported in media and most rounds of talks were not successful.

“Owing to this readiness of Dayasiri to join the government to contest the North Central Provincial Council, many members of the party were not in favour of appointing him to the post of chairman of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya. This problem of trust deficit did not permit us to give him any position within the party.

“Thereafter, he made several statements to the media and at press conferences that he would never leave the UNP. This made the party seniors and myself arrive at several decisions. The precedence before us was the sacking of Anura Bandaranaike from the SLFP by Sirimavo Bandaranaike for he had held secret talks with the then President D. B. Wijethunge. We were deliberating on deciding whether we would follow this precedence or would give another opportunity to Dayasiri. As he had made it clear that he would not leave the party, I decided that we should give him another opportunity. For this purpose we decided to settle the disciplinary inquiries against Dayasiri, who had been accused of criticizing the intra-party decisions and party elections. It was found that excuses given by Dayasiri were distorted facts and he had admitted some criticisms were his own. He pledged in writing that he would not repeat these errors in future. Accordingly, we did away with the disciplinary inquiry against Dayasiri. I table the report of the disciplinary inquiry held at Sirikotha on 05.05.2012 to be included in my speech.

“However, the party had received afresh complaint against him that he was continuing to criticise the party.

“Accordingly, on July 11, he was summoned for an inquiry attended by Party’s General Secretary, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee Tilak Marapone, Legal Secretary Daya Pelpola and Attorney-at-Law Ashendra Senerath. Dayasiri, at this inquiry, said that the media had twisted his statements and he had no intention to criticise the party leadership or the party. He also expressed his regrets if there were any inconveniences over the statements he had made to the media. I hereby table the report of the disciplinary committee including the statements of Dayasiri Jayasekera to the committee on July 15, 2013, to be included in my speech.

“The report by the disciplinary committee had been forwarded to the Working Committee of the party for approval on July 15, 2013. The Working Committee accepted the report and the Party’s General Secretary sent a letter to MP Jayasekera by registered post, dated July 18,2013, asking for his allegiance to the party and requesting him to maintain within the party constitution and seeking his contribution for the future work of the party. He never responded to this letter. I table the letter.

“On July 18, MP Jayasekera met me and party general secretary. He attended the party meeting held at Kurunegala on July 23 to select the UNP’s candidates for the forthcoming provincial elections. But surprising everyone, the following day, on July 24, he made a statement in Parliament to the effect that he would leave the party to contest the North Central Province on the UPFA ticket.

“Hon Speaker, the very same person accepted the party and its leadership on July 11 and confirmed it in writing on July 18 and then participated in selecting candidates on July 23 and then suddenly leaves it after criticising the leadership on July 24. This amply elucidates his consistency and integrity. On the very same day, (July 24) UNP MP Harin Fernando leveled some charges against Dayasiri, to which the latter had never replied. Dayasiri officially resigned from parliament on July 29. He had enough time to reply to the charges against him. But he never did.

“Motive behind Dayasiri’s resignation was not to set a new trend but to contest for the forthcoming PC elections. Prior to him MPs Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, Percy Samaraweera, MS Amarasiri, W. P. P. N. Dasanayake, S. B. Navinna and Ashoka Wadigamangawa, too, had resigned from their seats to contest the provincial councils.

“Some party members blame me for the delay and not taking severe action against Dayasiri. It was I that paved the way for his coming to Parliament. I requested him to contest the Kurunegala District on the UNP ticket at the 2001 election when we met at Prof G. L. Peiris’ residence.

“Though Dayasiri polled the least number of votes and came last in the list, we permitted him to contest again in 2004. Though some MPs of the Kurunegala District had opposed him, we gave him permission to contest. Dayasiri won that election and came to Parliament.

“Party seniors and I had always assisted him to attend parliamentary affairs and we appointed him as the deputy leader of UNP Parliamentary Group. He could make use of these positions to come forward in his political career.”

(Courtesy: The Island)