5:06 PM

Ranil sneaks into the country?

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's sudden return to the country yesterday morning without informing his close party members has surprised many UNPers.

Wickremesinghe returned after an European visit, which included a controversial tour of Norway, when the armed forces were about to crush the LTTE.

Political sources said the exact time of the return had been kept a secret, possibly due to fears that some of the disgruntled party rebels themselves might organise unpleasant protests against the leader as was the experience of some of his trusted lieutenants at a meeting in Matara, the previous Saturday.

According to party insiders, Wickremesinghe had hopped a helicopter ride to Colombo after landing at Katunayake to avoid any possible protests on roads.

"According to the information we received from his confidants, Wickremesinghe has informed them that he will be landing yesterday evening at 4 p.m. But actually he had reached Sri Lanka at 8:07 a.m on flight number QR 300," a party insider said.
He said that the Leader has not made known his actual time of arrival due to the rumours that some ministers were planning to throw rotten eggs at him when he arrives through the VIP terminal.

"It is the reason which compelled him to take the normal arrival terminal instead of the VIP terminal. I think this is the first time he has taken the normal arrival terminal after he had become a Parliamentarian," the source asserted.
He also noted that Wickremesinghe did not have to be frightened of entering his own country, if he had arrived on the day President Rajapaksa had declared victory over the LTTE in Parliament.

"We all should pay respects to the President since he has concluded the war which was there for 30 years. As the party leader Ranil should have been present in Parliament on the day President Rajapaksa made his historic speech. The UNP is known as a dignified party but Ranil's behaviour has completely tarnished the image of the party and because of him even we are not able to face our supporters," he added.