is deceptive and misleading"
A vibrant politician and a
vociferous critic of the government, UNP MP, Hemakumara
Nanayakkara feels that parliamentarians protesting in
parliament when justice is not meted out was expected
from any parliament. In an interview with The Sunday
Leader, Nanayakkara observed that the UNP is now aiming
at the presidential election and is confident of
victory. "We are aiming at the next presidential
election and are fully geared to face it successfully.
The sentence on S. B. Dissanayake has provided us with
extra ammunition. People know what sort of a party the
UPFA is," he said.
Following are excerpts:
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Q: How do you explain the behaviour
of fellow UNP MPs in parliament last week?
A: Yes, protests of this nature
can be seen in any kind of parliament. In similar
parliamentary systems, when justice is not meted out as
is expected, the august assembly has to protest and
voice its disapproval.
In the event such protests are blocked or unreasonably
checked, incidents such as those witnessed last week would be
Q: How do you explain the behaviour
of UNPers when they ran away with the mace, given the fact
that the UNP was earlier highly critical of the government
when some of its MPs ran away with the mace?
A: Taking the mace is a kind of
protest inside parliament when sessions do not move as
expected. It happens, but it is not the best form of protest.
Members carrying away the mace has happened since 1948 and
will continue to happen as long as parliament exists.
Q: UNP MP T. Maheswaran's conduct in
parliament, especially going against the party whip's orders
and voting against several budgetary allocations with the
Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has raised concern. What do you
have to say?
A: I would rather not comment on
the matter. The party leadership and the Political Affairs
Committee will look into the matter and make a decision based
Q: There have been allegations that
MP Maheswaran is trying to tow the line of the TNA. Is there
any truth in these allegations?
A: Anything of that sort has not
surfaced. As an individual he has his own way of thinking.
However, my personal opinion as a UNPer is that anyone
representing the UNP, should come under the party whip.
Q: What sort of action does the UNP
plan to take with regard to S. B. Dissanayake's political
A: S. B. Dissanayake has been
sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment and I am not
going to talk of the Supreme Court or the legal process, but
as far as I can see, the judgment has resulted in a big
uprising in parliament.
S.B. as a popular grassroot politician
has given leadership to rank and file and has provided the
highest strength to the party leadership and therefore some
warped government politicos are happy about this decision.
In general, I believe the judiciary
should be totally independent. If a villager robs a bunch of
bananas and if a court or tribunal sentences him to capital
punishment, people will say it is unreasonable.
We must now talk to the people and it
is the masses who have to speak of the punishment given to S.B.
People have already started to express their opinion about
I have a strong feeling that S. B. will
be back in the political limelight soon. I don't know how, but
I hope he will return soon to serve his country.
Q: There are allegations that the
UNP or its leadership never made a public statement that S.
B.'s comments on the judiciary was not his personal opinion
but that of the party when the Supreme Court decided to press
charges against him. How would you respond?
A: From the moment the UNP came
to know that the Supreme Court was going to take action, the
party leadership along with the hierarchy has been giving him
the right advice at the right time. Other party members stood
by S. B. Dissanayake.
Unfortunately, he was subject to this
severe punishment, about which again the leadership is looking
into intensely to see what steps could be taken to relieve him
of his agony.
Q: How does the UNP plan to continue
with its political journey in the future?
A: We are aiming at the next
presidential election and are fully geared to face it
successfully. The sentence on S. B. Dissanayake has provided
us with extra ammunition. People know what sort of a party the
UPFA is. The country is faced with many problems as the
country's economy, political scenario and democracy are at
stake due to the poor performance of the government. People
have no faith in the government.
The present government is for several
rulers who want to get the maximum benefits. Under the guise
of working for the common man, the government is actually
working for selected business tycoons. Some ministers and top
politicos are making money by robbing the nation and its poor
masses. People are now aware of it.
We are very confident of victory and we
will fight for democracy and the people are rushing into our
camp to pull this government down in a democratic way. Some
rulers are only interested in making money and going against
principles of good governance.
Q: Public perception is that the UNP
as the main opposition is quite weak and not as active as it
should be. What do you say?
A: UNP is not quiet and we are
airing our views in parliament and outside. The party
convention was a roaring success. The mass protest rallies and
the protests organised in every district too have been
successful. Also the demonstration on the rising cost of
living has been successful.
The government media, paid by the
people's money, is engaged in a mud slinging campaign against
the UNP. The only purpose of the state media is to build the
image of the government and of a few MPs.
The UNP has a style of its own. It
works with the masses and is a common man's party. It is
impossible for the government to stop the UNP as it keeps
gathering fantastic momentum day by day.
Party Leader, Ranil Wickreme-singhe is
a man with a lot of courage, a vision and a solid plan. He
knows the art of developing the country through good
governance within a short period of time.
Q: What is the UNP's position with
regard to the peace process?
A: There is currently a
stalemate on the peace front and we are requesting the
government to start the peace process immediately. However, I
don't know how the government plans to begin the peace
The UNP never approved of the ISGA and
will never approve it. The UNP sent its proposals when in
power and the ISGA was the counter proposal forwarded by the
As a democratic political party, the
UNP believes that a solution should only be reached by way of
The UNP would support the government on
the peace process, provided they are genuine in their efforts.
The National Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation,
inaugurated by the President is now in the dustbin. If they
were genuine they would have continued with it and most of all
before going ahead with such a plan, should have consulted the
main opposition UNP and laid out its modus operandi.
The UNP did not participate for good
reason, and the government is on a mud-slinging campaign
against the UNP for this. They started the NACPR without many
stakeholders and it has now come to nothing.