UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said a split within the SLFP was becoming more imminent as the Joint Opposition (JO) continued to work against the SLFP.
“We can no longer be patient. If they decide to contest separately, we will have to make a decision”, said the General Secretary whose Alliance has become fractured between support for its former leader and the present.
In February 2015, a faction of the SLFP and minor parties of the UPFA Alliance chose to form the Joint Opposition (JO) in support of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President allowed MPs of his party to sit independently of his government which had been formed through a MoU between the UNP and SLFP.
“The President allowed the JO to sit in the Opposition in the spirit of democracy and not to work towards breaking the party.
They have misused their freedom. Usually parties do not allow its members to criticise their leader or ministers but the SLFP Central Committee allowed them to do that”, explained Amaraweera who addressed a media briefing at SLFP Headquarters.
“A year ago, I predicted that a separate party would be formed and I have been right. This group is indeed moving towards that”, he added.
With Local Government Elections promised to be held soon and Provincial Council elections due in September, Amaraweera is worried that a fractured SLFP would lose out heavily at the polls,
“Our party machinery on the ground is working well and we have seen a swell of support for the SLFP. We have given all the opportunities to come for our interviews and 95 percent of our interview process is complete. Imagine the result if they put up their own team?”, he asked.
The UPFA General Secretary further added that he saw no hope of reconciliation between the two factions, “I have tried my best to bring all parties together but I later realized that despite my efforts and the President’s, this cannot be done. Because the group has decided to form their own group and destroy the SLFP, there is no point in our efforts,”he said.
With the recent decision of the National Freedom Front (NFF), leader, Wimal Weerawansa and his four other MPs to leave the UPFA, Amaraweera said it was also time to clean up the UPFA. He is to send letters to all partners within the Alliance asking them to write to him if they wished to leave. He explained that they could not accept the letter written by Weerawansa on behalf of his party as his party is not recognized within the Alliance, “All of them need to send us individual letters”, he said.
Amaraweera however noted that given the electoral consequences of a split, they would give the factions until the last minute to return to the SLFP fold. “People usually come back when elections are near,” he said.
(Source: Daily News – By Zahrah Imtiaz)