Member of the SLFP of 16 rebels, former Minister W.D.J Seneviratne, while dismissing alleged remarks made against the group by certain members of the Joint Opposition said they would remain in politics under the leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and contest the forthcoming PC, Presidential and Parliamentary polls under his leadership.
He added that the 16 SLFP rebels would sit in Parliament with the Joint Opposition from the next session as their sole objective was to build a strong front against the UNP.
He told the media at the Media Center of Freedom in Colombo that his group had become a threat to the 23 SLFPers remaining in the Unity Government led by the UNP.
“Our group has been able to draw the attention of the entire country. The best example of this is the two rallies held in Matara and Matale by us.
“On the popularity, we have gained among the public we have decided to conduct rallies and meetings against the UNP round the country,” Mr Seneviratne said.
He stressed that the rebel group quit the Yahapalana Government on May 8 with the sole objective of toppling this Government as early as possible.
“As such, the group has made a big political impact in the country to get an early election with the support of the JO. The Joint Opposition would get the full blessings and support of the group to perform as the real Opposition to the Government under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership and advice,” he said.
Parliamentarian Dilan Perera said the UNP and the SLFP group who do business with the Government make various malice and vituperative remarks on the 16 rebels and the group was a good topic among the UNP and 23 SLFPers.
“How could they say that 14 out of 16 had become political refugees and see us as Billa? Almost all SLFPers, except a few in the Government, will quit before long and join us. Those who insulting us are keeping their legs on both sides,” he said.
“We quit the Government because we felt that the Government was to get defeated. A group of 16 Ministers has never quit a Government in the past.
“In the past, the crossovers were from the Opposition to Government. In this instance, it was the opposite. We had the opportunity to remain as Ministers until 2020. Duminda cannot do politics as an underdog of the UNP. We left the Government to save the SLFP from the UNP. We cannot let Mahinda Amaraweera offer the SLFP to the UNP any further. They are trying to give the SLFP in a flower tray,” he said.
He said that the 16 SLFP rebels were in constant touch with the 23 SLFPers in the Government and would take them out before long.
“The SLFP will contest under one leader after Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Sirisena comes to a compromise. However, the defeat of the JO at the election of the Deputy Speaker was a setback to the JO.
“All those who opposed the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have now been made destitute,” Mr Perera said. (Sandun A Jayasekera)