UNP dissidents Gamini Lokuge and P.Dayaratne yesterday told media that there will be no more cross overs from the UNP to the government ranks. `We want them to remain in the party and consolidate it,` he said.
Asked whether those who crossed over are planning to join the SLFP, Lokuge said `we are very much with the UNP. We haven`t abandoned it. We will engage in rebuilding the party while being in the government benches,` he added.
Explaining why they crossed over he said that it was a decision taken in the national interest. `We have never left the party. What we are doing is to convince the government to reactivate the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) which is dormant,` Lokuge said. `Some of Ranil Wickremesinghe`s henchmen have launched a mud slinging campaign against us via the media. It is in fact they who are covered with mud and have no policies. Ranil Wickremesinghe has no feeling for the nation and he doesn`t care about our heritage. But President Mahinda Rajapakse is a man who always cared for our heritage and makes an effort to restore it,` Lokuge said.
Lokuge criticized the role played by the JVP saying that they are very critical of the UNP`ers who crossed over to the government. They have forgotten that at one time they also enjoyed cabinet portfolios in the PA government. `We won`t talk about the muderous past of the JVP,` he said.
Former UNP minister P. Dayaratne said that Tuesday`s incident, where the Tigers fired mortars at a helicopter carrying western diplomats, injuring some of them will open the eyes of western leaders. `Its only when terrorism starts raising its ugly head in their countries that they get alarmed.` he said. Dayaratne was of the view that the CFA should be revived. `After the CFA was implemented in 2002 it had brought relief to the peasants living in the troubled areas although there were isolated incidents in the LTTE controlled areas. `The talks between the Government and the LTTE should resume as I firmly believe that there is a solution to this three decade long problem,` he said.