Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s attempt to form a clique within the UNP would be thwarted, Minister of Power Ravi Karunanayake said, on Saturday, at Kataragama.
Karunanayake said that Kumaratunga was under the impression that she could dictate terms to the UNP.
“Attempts are being made by some external forces to disrupt the UNP. Kumaratunga thinks that she can influence political parties. She thinks that the SLFP should do as she says. She also thinks that she can influence the UNP by forming a small clique within it.”
The former President was the SLFP electoral organiser of Attanagalle seat but she had failed to secure even her seat, Karunanayake said. Thus, the UNP gained nothing from an alliance with such a person, he said.
Karunanayake added that the UNP would decide on their presidential candidate at the opportune moment. “We have not decided on someone yet. There are powerful persons like Ranil Wickremesinghe, Karu Jayasuriya and Sarath Fonseka in the UNP. Some other names might come up, but it’s not the decision of the party.”
Last week, Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, a close ally of Kumaratunga, invited Party Deputy Leader and Minister Sajith Premadasa to his book launch in Matara, and it is widely thought that the event was aimed at promoting Premadasa as UNP’s Presidential candidate. Samaraweera had earlier suggested that Premadasa, who enjoyed significant grassroots support, should be the party’s Presidential candidate. Karunanayake has also had a number of run-ins with Samaraweera during cabinet meetings as well.
Karunanayake has been a strong critic of Premadasa and downplaying the latter’s chances of being the UNP’s Presidential candidate.
(Source: The Island)