Wickeremesinghe pledges victory at Colombo mayoral election; Sajith notable absentee at 65th anniversary celebrations
By Uditha Jayasinghe
Bolstering his supporters for the upcoming Colombo Mayoral elections UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pledged to start a string of victories with the upcoming poll.
Speaking at the celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the UNP he insisted that the government was ignoring the “small man” and therefore his party would take up their cause. The ceremony saw the prominent absence of UNP Co- Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa.
Pointing out the corruption, mismanagement and wastage carried out by the ruling party Wickremesinghe stressed that the greatest losers in this battle were the poor and it would be by strengthening them that the UNP would sweep into power.
“The people have a simple decision to make at the upcoming elections,” he stated adding, “it is simply whether they want a mayor that will serve the big man or the little man. We are a party that has always stood for the average man and it is with them that we will win the Colombo mayoral elections. That is where we will start the path of victory.”
He also alleged that the government was “selling off Colombo” and pointed at several controversial land deals that included the Galle Face to emphasise his point. He acknowledged that the party was in a downward phase but recalled that the UNP during its six decade existence had faced many such challenges before.
Echoing UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake’s appeal for unity he called on the party to work for the benefit of the common man. Wickremesinghe expressed optimism that the string of defeats that the party had suffered under him could be turned around at the next round of local government elections and requested the party members to work for this goal.
Earlier at the event Karunanayake also made a strong appeal for unity. Likening the party to a vehicle he said, “A vehicle cannot run if the horn is in the hands of one person, the steering wheel with another and the engine piston with yet another. It is imperative that the party unites to serve the people and save the country from the ravages of so called development carried out by the government.”
The toned down celebrations were held at Sirikotha, the party headquarters, and saw the presentation of special plaques of appreciation for eight outstanding UNP members. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and UNP Chief Whip Joseph Michael Perera were among the other speakers.