April 18, 2012, 8:49 pmby Zacki Jabbar
The Sajith Premadasa faction of the UNP said yesterday that it was opposed to the concept of "13th Amendment Plus being canvassed by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe".
Western Provincial Councillor Shiral Lakthillake, who is a leading member of the Sajith Faction, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that Wickremesinghe, who was touring India, had said that the "Sri Lankan government should implement the 13th Amendment Plus, which was something that had first been referred to by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the war had ended in May 2009."
"We are totally opposed to anything beyond the 13th Amendment being implemented," Lakthillake said adding that "Pluses would be tantamount to secession."
Devolving power in terms of the Constitution was acceptable. But the introduction of new terminology only confused matters and should be rejected outright, he observed.
The UNP need not adopt the stance taken by the Rajapaksa government and the question arises whether Wickremesinghe was "carrying out a contract on its behalf", Lakthillake said, while noting that the Tamil National Alliance has even rejected "13 Plus".
Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne said that the UNP leader was finding excuses to postpone the May Day rally which was scheduled to be held in Jaffna, since he was unable to persuade party cadres to attend.
Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga’s statement to the media that the government has advised opposition parliamentarians not to indulge in political activity in Jaffna, since pro-LTTE activists were planning to launch a campaign of violence, was a "face saving ploy" being adopted by Wickremesinghe, he alleged.
Gunaratne said that transporting party members to Jaffna from various parts of the country, was a costly exercise and each organizer would have to spend over Rs.200,000.
"We are opposed to the UNP holding a May Day rally in partnership with the TNA, which supported the US Resolution on Accountability and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, at the recently concluded United Nations Human Rights Council annual sessions," he said adding that the UNP had lost its southern vote base since Wickremesinghe had belittled the war effort.