Following the May Day rally by the joint opposition, Matara District UPFA MP and national organiser of the joint opposition Dullas Alahapperuma was interviewed by the to know his views on the stance of the joint opposition subsequent to the Kirulapone rally.
Q As Matara District leader and Vice President of the party, do you have much responsibility towards the party?
I love my party more than my life. There is no second question about it. It is not an issue, or suspicion that is why I should represent the soul of my party.
Q Aren’t you going against the party discipline?
How can participating in the opposition May Day be interpreted as going against the party discipline? If that is so, even our sitting in the opposition should be considered as an act of indiscipline.
Q Did they join the government with the approval of the Central Committee which included you?
True. After the elections in August 17th, the then party secretaries and the alliance removed 17 key persons and established a new committee which approved the joining with the coalition government. Lest you forget, Kumara Welgama, C.B. Rathnayake, Mahinda Yapa, Pavithra and I did not agree with this proposal. In our manifesto as the alliance, we sought power through the policy “A guarantee for the Future” or “Anagathayata Sahathikayak.” We sought power against a coalition government with the UNP. That is why except two who accepted posts in the UNP coalition, all others were rejected by the people. Therefore what is important is to stand up for the party manifesto, which is the protocol of the party and not to forget that this committee is allowed to sit with the government as well as the opposition.
Q Don’t you think the party would split?
From our side, there is no such move. We love the party. It should have split during the past election if it ever had to. It is clear that there are several individuals including Chandrika Madam who are longing for an opportunity to split the party. As we are against the policies of the UNP government, there are others who are chanting morning, noon and night, that we should be removed from the party. They are the ones who have rubbed green colour on their palms. They are now sharpening the swords.
Q Are you indirectly hinting that a UNP conspiracy is now hatched to break the SLFP?
Conspiracy is something that is taking place secretly. But this is not. It reminds me of the Sinhala phrase “T.B. Jaya Mawathe kekuna thalanakota, sirikothe haban kukulanta raja magul,” my friend Dilan said recently that our party consisted of two factions - “Urumakkarayo and Karumakkarayo,” which is very true.
Q Has the May Day rally brought about a split in SLFP?
No. The cracks appeared no sooner they decided to join the UNP and establish a coalition government. SLFP is following an anti-UNP passageway. We oppose their economic policies. With the party opting to live in the same house as the UNP, history had been turned upside down. The membership is thoroughly disgruntled with the harassment meted out to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. May Day is only one scene in this film.
Q There is a belief that with the entry of Basil Rajapaksa into the May Day arena, this split had become more evident?
That is a blatant lie. He was not even a part of the organising committee. This is purely a media circus.
Q What about Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila being pointed out as contractors for this split?
Let us call that charge ‘Parliament Jokes.’
Q Why did you prefer such a small place in Kirulapone, when the UNP asked whether you all were afraid to take Galle Face Green?
They are the very people who challenged us to bring 5,000 persons to Nugegoda. They refused Shalika grounds even after we reserved it.
Q An open charge made by the SLFP stated that you all were spending lavishly for your rally. Is it true?
We totally refute that allegation. Our members from Matara arrived in Kirulapone with great difficulty. Mahinda Yapa, Kanchana, Niroshan and Gajadeera would testify on this matter. If we had enough money, then would we have not brought 10,000 persons from Matara?
Q Can this government be changed before 2020?
There may be a majority inside the parliament. But outside, 2/3 are against it. This type of politics would not last long. Even J.R. Jayawardene had high hopes and compared the UNP government at that time to the Sigiriya rock, but everyone knows what happened ultimately.
Q Are you hopeful that your position of District leader would remain intact?
I was elected by the Matara people with more than 100,000 preferential votes. That can only be taken away by the same people, and these are only ornaments which can be stolen. Nearly five million people placed their confidence in us, and that is what we should keep in mind. We have placed our trust in people and allowed them to decide.