With former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake’s sudden political somersault, he is now known as “Assa tittanayake” among some quarters of the party’s rank and file. A few days before his crossover, addressing party supporters at Sirikotha, Tissa dubbed himself as a “bokken UNPkaaraya” (UNPer to the core) and said that he would never leave the camp, with tears welling up in his eyes. But, it did not require a lot of time for him to take a 180 degree turn and make inroads into the Temple Trees, on the final day of nominations.
However, during a closed door meeting at Sirikotha, a day after Attanayake’s somersault, one of the strongmen of the party said Attanayake was the only high-ranking party member he knew who carried a picture of the party leader in his wallet! The stalwart said, until his very last days at the UNP, Tissa had “Lokka’s picture” in his wallet, decorating its free space.
And the picture which decorated Tissa’s wallet was quite nostalgic. It was taken in the early 80s when the two of them went to Moscow together – along with a couple of others. By that time, Ranil was the Deputy Minister of Education of the JRJ government and Tissa was in the National Youth Council – or probably in the university. If Tissa’s long-winded letter of resignation is something to go by, he started his “UNP-affiliated” student activist life in the early 80s while he was a university student. Behind Tissa and Ranil, in that picture, is the Red Square of Moscow – the ‘Taj Mahal’ of the likes of DEW Gunasekera.
However, it is still not clear whether this picture is still in Tissa’s wallet even after the ‘break-up”. If he had taken it off before going to Temple Trees on December 08, he must have certainly shed a tear or two as the picture was part of his humble wallet for nearly 30 years. But then again, Tissa’s wallet, apparently, has space issues these days!