Pix by Waruna Wanniarachchi
By Sandun A Jayasekera
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SLFP and the SLPP was signed yesterday at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute by SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara and SLPP General Secretary Sagala Kariyawasam.
The months’ long discussions between the two parties concluded last Tuesday after the SLFP’s Central Committee decided to support the candidacy of SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa which was also endorsed by President Maithripala Sirisena paving the way to sign the MOU.
Addressing the gathering after signing the MoU, SLPP National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa said though the SLPP was the most popular and stronger political party, no constituent partner of the SLFP – SLPP led alliance must worry about sidelining them.
On policy, ideology and politics the two parties have no much difference and as such the joining of each other to ensure the victory of Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not something peculiar or strange. Both parties are committed to serve the country and nation from the current mess.
More than any one else the people supporting the SLPP and SLFP wanted this unity between the two parties. They are of the view that an absolute victory could be ensured when the one and half million votes polled by the SLFP at the local government polls in February 2018 added to the five million votes the SLFP drew at the same election. The hardcore SLFPers desperately wanted a new vision and a new mission for the SLFP and that aspiration has been realized with the unity of the two parties, Mr. Rajapaksa stressed.
“There will be no victims after this unity. My first love is for the SLFP because they have voted me to power in the past. The SLPP has been formed on the same policies and ideology of the SLFP. People used to ask me when the SLFP would join the SLFP and an answer has been found to that question now,” Mr. Rajapaksa noted.
Dayasiri Jayasekara said the SLFP joined the SLPP on certain conditions and it will have its own policy, work programme and strategy though the SLFP supports the candidacy of Mr. Rajapaksa.
“We, at the SLFP would campaign jointly to ensure the victory of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa but at the same time we will also do our own campaign separately. We also reinvigorate our grass roots level party organizations, strengthen electoral and district organizations targeting the general election scheduled for next year,” Mr. Jayasekara stressed.
The SLFP, established by late Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike had always taken an anti capitalist stance and served the down trodden since 1956 with left oriented policies. The SLPP is no difference from this position and therefore, the joining of the two is not a surprise. The alliance led by two parties will be called ‘Sri Lanka Nidahas Podudujana Peramuna’ with chair as the symbol will be a dominant force at the Parliamentary election, he added.
Mr. Jayasekera said he was subjected to lot of criticism, insults and character assassinations during the talks and some suggested that he was in a move to take the SLFP to UNP which was an absolute lie.
“What I wanted was to join the band wagon of the SLPP election campaign while safeguarding the interests of our party supporters and voters and also protecting the dignity and self respect of the party. I am glad that this has happened. We are in alliance to ensure the victory of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential poll and form a strong government after the general election next year under the chair as the symbol of the alliance,” Mr. Jayasekara noted.
Pix by Waruna Wanniarachchi.