SJB leader Sajith Premadasa cutting the ribbon to declare open the SJB headquarters in Pita Kotte. Pic by Pradeep Pathirana
By Yohan Perera
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday invited his UNP counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe to join SJB saying the door was open for him and others to join the new alliance. Addressing the opening ceremony of SJB headquarters in Pita Kotte, he said the invitation extended to Mr. Wickremesinghe was still valid.
“I met Mr. Wickremesinghe together with SJB Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara and invited him to participate in the launch of SJB last week. Mr. Wickremesinghe and others can always join the new alliance. It was the UNP Working Committee that granted me the authority to form SJB. It was the UNP that appointed me as its leader. I was also given the right to choose a general secretary and the power to muster the support of all parties. Therefore, it is not correct of anyone to set barriers to SJB’s political destiny. I invite all former UNP MPs as well as provincial council and local government members to join SJB. Do not worry about your future and don’t engage in slavery politics but do join our alliance,” he said, assuring no harm would befall UNPers joining the alliance.
On a different note, he said SJB would commence preparing nomination papers for the general election. “We will start work on nominations. The only qualification we will look into from potential candidates is their ability to work for the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said it was still not late for the UNP to arrive at an agreement with the alliance. “We once again invite the UNP to join our camp,” he said.
Former MP Sujeewa Senasinghe who gave a passing remark to the media said all UNPers would ultimately join SJB.
A significant number of former UNP MPs thronged the opening ceremony. They included former MPs Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Lucky Jayawardene and Niroshan Perera.
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