Aug 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka main opposition United National Party (UNP) is considering to appoint the Hambantota district parliamentarian and former deputy leader Sajith Premadasa to the deputy leader post once again after the upcoming Uva Provincial Council election.
According to the party sources, Premadasa's appointment was to be done at the upcoming working committee meeting of the UNP as the Party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe hoped to make the appointment before the Uva Provincial Council election that will be held on September 20.
It has been revealed that decision to make Sajith Premadasa's appointment after the Uva Provincial Council polls is a political strategy.
Reportedly the party has decided to appoint Premadasa as the deputy leader closer to the presidential election to obtain support for the UNP's presidential election campaign since an unfavorable result at the Uva PC election next month may reflect negatively on Premadasa if he was appointed as deputy leader and given the responsibility to lead the election campaign in Uva Province.
However, Premadasa has reportedly set forth some conditions that need to be met if he were to assume the Deputy Leader position of the party.
A report in The Nation Sunday paper said, Premadasa, according to party sources, has insisted that the Leadership Council of the party be scrapped and that he be given the power to nominate 10 persons to the party's Working Committee among other conditions.
Premadasa setting forth the conditions has delayed his appointment of as the Deputy Leader and the conditions are to be discussed at the next working committee meeting, sources close to the party have said.
Premadasa opposing the Leadership Council was not a new condition as he refused to accept the membership in Leadership Council when it was formed in November 2013.
A section of UNP affiliated Bhikku Front has opposed the abolition of the Leadership Council established under their direction and reportedly some senior members of UNP, namely MPs Mangala Samaraweera, Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Ravi Karunanayaka, have vehemently opposed UNP leader's proposition to appoint Premadasa as deputy leader.
However, the Chairman of the Leadership Council MP Karu Jayasuriya, another contender for the Deputy Leader position, earlier said that he "completely agrees" with appointing Sajith as the deputy leader of the party and providing him with a "rightful place" in the party in order to rejoin him with active politics of the party.