Exchanges between the ruling party and the main opposition heightened yesterday when acting Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the UNP to fix their internal divisions instead of criticising the president’s entertainment sessions at Temple Trees.
Responding to UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake’s comment that the Temple Trees has been converted into a “dansela” by the President, the Minister insisted that the effort was for the benefit of the common man.
“Until President Mahinda Rajapaksa came along there was no place for the common man at Temple Trees. He was the one who opened its doors so that everyone from priests to the Veddha people can be part of Temple Trees. The President has habitually held events at the place and he cannot be expected to stop all his duties just because an election is happening,” he said.
Abeywardana then went on to advise Attanayake to heal the divisions within the UNP as that was costing them the election. “Even their divisions have divisions now,” he quipped adding that stopping entertainment at Temple Trees will not win the election for the UNP.
“There have been times when the main opposition has defeated the ruling party at local government elections, he recalled pointing out efforts made by former party leaders. “But that requires a united effort.
Nowadays you see UNP Co-deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa supporting independent candidates. There are publicity campaigns carrying his picture instead of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s. It can’t get much worse than this.”
He stressed that the UNP was only looking for excuses even before they have lost the elections. “A few events at Temple Trees are not going to help the UNP to win.” (UJ)