President Maithripala Sirisena made a hard-hitting speech criticizing his coalition partner, the United National Party, at a ceremony held in Colombo to commemorate the country’s first Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake yesterday (22).
President Sirisena told the gathering that when he left the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government and decided to contest as the common candidate in the last Presidential election, he believed he was joining the political party that had been graced by D. S. Senanayake and his son Dudley.
“But after some time I came to the realization that the UNP today is not the party of DS and Dudley,” he said. “With exemplary characters like DS and Dudley the UNP was a massive and very strong political party that occupied centre stage,” he said.
However, the UNP of today is replete with many other things he said. “There is corruption, fraud, waste and robbery in the party of today,” the President charged. The President recalled going for a public meeting addressed by Dudley Senanayake as a schoolboy in Polonnaruwa, as well as similar meetings addressed by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. He says that for the betterment of the country he hopes and prays that the UNP of DS and Dudley will re-emerge. The President’s remarks come at a time when there are further signs that the Yahapalanaya coalition is fraying and some political commentators have said that the relations between the two constituent parties, the UNP and the Sirisena faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party may be irreparably damaged. Differences resulted in a heated exchange during the Cabinet meeting last week where the President had strongly opposed the UNP’s idea of handing over a terminal in the Port to India.