Colombo, Feb 23 (DailyMirror) – The United National Party has dismissed reports that its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is in a secret deal with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to merge the UNP and SLPP into an alliance in order to gain more parliamentary seats in a future election.
Rumours are strife that Wickremesinghe has been in secret talks with the President and the main person negotiating these talks is Wickremesinghe’s niece Ishini Wickremesinghe.
However, Wickremesinghe’s office yesterday dismissed these rumours, saying Wickremesinghe was not in talks with any of the Rajapaksa members and neither was Ishini Wickremesinghe involved in any party matters. party seniors also said that Ishini did not have any office in the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha and was not initiating any deals on behalf of the UNP.
Party seniors further told Daily Mirror that the UNP was presently concentrating on strengthening the party at the grass-root levels and was concentrating on more youth participation. this task is being spearheaded by the Deputy Leader of the UNP Ruwan Wijewardene.
However, the Daily Mirror learns that while the UNP is trying to rebrand itself after suffering a humiliating defeat at the last Parliamentary Elections, having lost all its seats and surviving with only one national list seat that too which has been occupied by Wickremesinghe himself, the UNP is in talks with SJB MP Champika Ranawaka and Kumar Welgama in order to join a future alliance.
Ranawaka is likely to be the common candidate in that alliance, the Daily Mirror learns, as he has received no positive response from SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa for a deputy leadership position in the SJB. (Jamila Husain)