Colombo, December 16 (newsin.asia): With the local bodies elections slated for February 2018, political parties are not only campaigning for votes but are also trying to get leaders from rival parties to cross over to their side to show that they are on the ascendant while their rivals are on the descendent.
On Friday, the Digamadulla (Ampara) District Member of Parliament, Sriyani Wijewickrema was sworn in as the State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government on Friday immediately after she crossed over from the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) which is part of the Joint Opposition (JO) led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Earlier on December 11, the Deputy Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Weerakumara Dissanayake and former National Organizer of the NFF Piyasiri Wijenayake have obtained SLFP membership from President Maithripala Sirisena.
Weerakumara Dissanayake, Piyasiri Wijenayake and North-Central Provincial Councillor P.B.Kumara obtained membership with the SLFP after meeting with President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat earlier today.
The NFF is an ally of the Joint Opposition (JO) leader and former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is a ultra-nationalistic and avowedly pro-Sinhalese party.
The defecting three former top leaders of the NFF pledged their support to the President and the political strategy adopted by him. They also declared that they will represent the SLFP at the upcoming Local Government elections.
Former NFF National Organizer Wijenayake had been requested to step down from his post last month and resign as a member of the party.
Wijenayake’s sacking came in the wake of the NFF member repeatedly criticizing party leader, UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa, in the public and when speaking to media.
Wijenayake and Weerawansa had been exchanging verbal blows ever since the former had said that the sentiments uttered by the party leader, who expressed the need to ‘bomb’ the parliamentary complex, were not shared by the members of the NFF.
Prior to his expulsion, Wijenayake had declared that the National Freedom Front (NFF) would very soon be limited only to a name board and that day was not very far away.
The NFF National Organizer stated that the quitting of individuals who actively worked for the party is a serious issue. He made these comments while expressing views on the recent resignation of the party’s General Secretary Priyanjith Vitharana.
MEP Blames Itself
The MEP denounced the decision taken by its MP Sriyani Wijewickrama to join the “anti-people” government led by the United National Party (UNP).
“Ms. Wijewickrama’s decision to join the Unity Government, which is in the process of plunging the sovereignty, freedom, democracy and economy of the country into a huge abyss can only be condemned,” the MEP said.
But the MEP blamed itself too for the defection of Wijewickrema. It said her decision was prompted by the arbitrary and arrogant action of Digamdulla District MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake in the process of preparing nominations for the local government elections.
“By parliamentarian Wimalaweera Dissanayake’s chronic failure to participate in the party leaders’ discussions to finalize nominations for local authorities in the Digamadulla District, not only Sriyani Wijewickrama, but also all the party leaders who took part in the nominations committee, were put into great difficulty,” the MEP said.
(Sri Lankan President Mithripala Sirisena makes defector-MP Sriyani Wijewickrema a Minister immediately after she defected from the opposition Mahajana Eksath Peramuna)