By Gazala Anver
In what appears to be yet another intra-party clash, Sajith Premadasa who is a contender for the UNP party leadership has accused Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of attempting to discredit him by pasting posters with questionable content.
“Recently, a discussion was held at the Cambridge Place office of Ranil Wickremesinghe with the objective of precluding Sajith Premadasa from being appointed as the UNP leader after the local government elections,” Sajith Premadasa’s Media Spokesperson Lal Perera, told The Sunday Leader speaking on behalf of Premadasa.
According to Perera, the people in question include private secretary to Wickremesinghe, Sudath Chandrasekara, Media Secretary to Mangala Samaraweera Ruwan Ferdinand as well as Media Secretary to both Ravi Karunanayake as well as Wickremesinghe, Asanka Mahagedera.
Perera added that the conclusion of this discussion was to produce defamatory posters against Premadasa after the election, and make it look as though the government has orchestrated the printing and the pasting. He also said the person commissioned to print the posters was Jayampathy Bulathsinghala, who was arrested and remanded earlier in connection with printing the highly controversial 18th Amendment posters, depicting the President as Hitler. Bulathsinghala however had refused, said Perera, because he had previously been abandoned when the case against him was brought up, for printing posters commissioned by the UNP.
“A person very close to us has forwarded the slogans to be used,” said Perera. The slogans read as: “Can you remember the betrayal of 600 innocent policemen who died?” “Sajith, pay us compensation for the lives of our children and husbands which were taken away from us during the Premadasa era!” as well as “Sajith, Do you remember our fathers whom your father deprived us of in the East?”
When contacted, Private Secretary to Wickremesinghe, Sudath Chandrasekara laughed at the suggestion that they maybe guilty. Media Secretary to Mangala Samaraweera, Ruwan Ferdinand said that he is currently not involved in politics, and has taken time to focus on his website instead. “I am not involved with the UNP in this election campaign,” he said. The Media Secretary to both Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake could not be reached.
Premadasa’s Private Secretary however stands firm in his accusation charging that Wickremesinghe is directly involved in this. “This is obvious because the discussion was held in Wickremesinghe’s own office and involved his Private Secretary and Media Secretary,” he said.
Sajith Premadasa meantime did not dispute the charge leveled by his Private Secretary against Ranil Wickremesinghe.