Bakeer Markar – Sacking UNP members contesting for SJB a “comedy show”
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sajith Premadasa-led Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) is pouring scorn on the United National Party’s announcement that all those who were nominated from their alliance for the upcoming elections have been sacked from the Grand Old Party.
Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, a National List candidate from the SJB told reporters today May 30 that “this is like some comedy show.”
He accused the UNP leadership of planting “disinformation in the media to scare the Local Government councilors who are elected from the UNP from supporting the SJB.”
Bakeer Markar, a former member of the UNP Working Committee and lifetime activist for the party said that for the past 30-years the party had lost its Social Democratic roots.
“We are the party that brought free education, free health care and free school books to the people of this country,” he said.
“We were never an ultra-capitalist Neo-Liberal party,” he said.
The former Minister said that under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe the UNP, which had the strongest credentials for practicing internal democracy in a political party in Sri Lanka, had lost that essential part of the party’s character.
“The UNP is not a party where the important decisions are taken inside a feudal mansion,” he said.
But he said that under Wickremesinghe’s nearly three decade-long leadership, the strict internal democracy which saw ordinary party workers getting opportunities to enter Parliament and hold high office was destroyed.
“Various people were appointed to important party positions without proper consultations with the membership,” he said.
As a result natural leaders never got the opportunity to rise within the party structure, he added.
Because of these practices “we lost touch with the people, and the voters have punished us all these years,” he said.
During this period, he said, more than a hundred UNP members of Parliament left the party.
He accused Wickremesinghe and those around him of delaying the choosing of a candidate to oppose the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna candidate.
“When a compromise was sought there was a decision to approach Karu Jayasuriya to be the candidate, Sajith Premadasa agreed to withdraw his candidacy. But Ranil Wickremesinghe insisted that if there is a UNP candidate then he has to be the one,” Bakeer Markar said.
Premadasa’s campaign started late and was hobbled due to a lack of support from the party machinery against a well-organised opponent who had started his campaign years before. (Colombo, May 30, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana