MR to steer UPFA campaign?

Published : 7:34 am  July 16, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (468) reads | 

President agreed two weeks ago-Susil

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By Sandun A Jayasekera
The General Secretary of the SLFP, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa yesterday said the propaganda campaign of the UPFA for the August 17 Parliamentary polls would be steered by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as no one in the alliance was willing to give even the slightest of support to the UNP, at least informally.

 

Addressing the media at the SLFP head office he said the Election Steering Committee (ESC) of the UPFA that met at the party head office took this decision in the morning.


Responding to a journalist on the critical statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday, Mr. Yapa said President Sirisena had made the special statement to the media as the leader of the SLFP and the UPFA but had not appraised the party leaders’ meeting or the Executive Committee meeting or the party hierarchy of both parties about it.

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He said that the SLFP Executive Committee had decided to take the matter up with President Sirisena.


To a query from another journalist, Mr. Yapa said that there was no attempt in the UPFA or the SLFP to remove President Sirisena from the leadership.


“I do not think the statement of President Sirisena is helping the UNP, but it is, no doubt, a blessing to the UPFA, as all those who were hesitant have now come forward to take the party to victory with new vigour. In fact it is a blessing to the party and we are ready to face any challenge that comes in any form,” Mr. Yapa stressed.


However, in a different point of view, Treasurer of the SLFP, former Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said he was shocked to hear the statement of President Sirisena.

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“I am one of among thousands of SLFP supporters who were shocked and disappointed after watching the speech of President Sirisena. It is sad to hear that President Sirisena has dissolved Parliament to save the UNP leader in which the UPFA had a two thirds majority and Parliament had one full year to run,” he lamented.


Alahapperuma said this was the first time in any country in the world, a President dissolved a legislature to save a leader of a rival political party.


On those who have defected the SLFP and decided to contest from the UNFGG, Mr. Yapa said, when they were given nomination from a rival political party, they automatically lose their party membership.

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However, he said a decision to suspend their party membership would be taken shortly by the Central Committee of the party.
“There are about 10 such members facing the party suspension,” he said.


The inaugural election campaign rally of the UPFA will be held in Anuradhapura on Friday (17) afternoon chaired by Mahinda Rajapaksa and attended by party leaders of the UPFA. A series of religious activities will precede the start of the public rally.


President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to give nomination and the responsibility to lead UPFA’s campaign two weeks ago, General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha said.

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Addressing the media at the SLFP head office yesterday, Mr. Premajayantha said President Sirisena summoned him and General Secretary Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardane and told them he was in agreement to give nomination to Rajapaksa and also to appoint him to steer the UPFA election propaganda campaign.


“Accordingly, I issued the relevant letter on July 3. I issued that letter in my official position as the General Secretary of the UPFA because General Secretary of a political party is the authority to deal on official matters with Elections Commissioner and prepare the nomination lists,” Premajayantha said.

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Commenting on President’s statement that there was a move to bring Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister after compelling a national list member to resign, he said only a candidate listed on the National List or a candidate in the election could be appointed as a National List Member of Parliament.


He said a number of Parliamentarians like Wijeyadasa Rajapaskshe, Dullas Alahapperuma, Basil Rajapaksa and Ratnasiri Wickramanayake have entered Parliament from the National List.


But this system had been questioned in the Supreme Court but no final ruling has been delivered on the matter.Premajayantha also found fault with the decision taken to conduct the election disrupting the GCE A/L examination and added that having the examination on a scattered basis would affect students negatively.


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had failed to remove Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran even after President Sirisena asked him to do so, he charged.


He charged that the government had started using State property and vehicles for election work. Kumara Welgama said the next Prime Minister would definitely be Rajapaksa after the UPFA’s election victory on August 17.


“President Sirisena cannot say ‘no’ if the majority of Parliamentarians demanded him to appoint Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. We as members of the winning party in Parliament recommend him as Prime Minister in one voice and President Sirisena will have no choice but to appoint him as the PM,” he said.


Asked to comment on President Sirisena’s position that there were better leaders in the SLFP to take the Prime Minister’s position than Rajapaksa, Welgama said all seniors and top leaders of the SLFP wanted Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.