| by Upasiri de Silva
( December 21, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I am not a UNP supporter or a member of the UNP, even though I knew very good UNP members including late PM Dudley Senanayake, Minister Major Montague Jayawickrama and few others who cross my path when I worked for the PWD in Sri Lanka. I come from a political family, but never engaged in party politics.
In 2006, I was staying for a short period in Kandy, as I undertook a very critical Arbitration for a friend of mine, while working for the Tsunami Housing Rehabilitation Unit as a Volunteer Senior Project Manager. During this period I was invited by my friend’s brother-in-law, a very wealthy business person with very strong UNP connections to attend a Lunch with Minister Sarath Amunugama, and the UNP Members of the PC and Parliamentary groups from Kandy district.
There were over 65 members form the UNP waiting to meet Minister Sarath Amunugama, and discuss their grievances with him, I noticed that they recognised and respected Minister Amunugama as a leader from the Kandy district, who can help them to overcome their problems.
All these MP’s from Provincial Council and the Parliament had one complaint in common. That was they were very unhappy with Tissa Aththanayake, the General Secretary of the UNP, and wanted to leave the UNP and join the SLFP/ UPFA.
Minister Sarath Amunugama listened to their grievances and discuss their troubles, and invited all of them to have lunch and then continue the discussion after lunch. As the main table was allocated to Minister Amunugama and I was invited to sit with the Minister, all the MP’s took their lunch in the inner dining hall of the house. Minister Amunugama took his chance and asked from me about my opinion about these complaints. As I was an outsider, I told him to advise them to think about the problems and allow them to give their opinion why they want to leave the UNP.
After lunch, the discussion took a very serious climax, but Minister Amunugama advice everyone to consider leaving the UNP and to meet him in one months’ time.
Tissa was the trouble maker in the UNP
After the lunch, Minister Amunugama requested me to meet Keheliya Rambukwella with the host’s brother-in-law and ask from him about a good solution. The following day I met Keheliya Rambukwella, then he was waiting to join the SLFP, with my friend, and what he told, surprised both of us. He told us he is leaving the UNP because of Tissa and unless Tissa leaves the party, he will not be in the UNP.
While we were talking to Keheliya, he was contacted by the President Rajapakse and offered him a Ministry and he promised to join the UPFA. As Tissa is now in the SLFP/UPFA as a Minister how many members who crossed over from the UNP because of Tissa, will remain with Mahinda Rajapakse is the next big question.
From these discussion it was emerge Tissa Aththanayake was the man who created all the problems within the UNP and Minister Amunugama (former UNP MP) save the UNP in the Kandy province by advising the MP’s not to leave the party. Will Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, S.B.Dissanayake, Prof.G.L Peiris will leave the UPFA and join the UNP again?