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SB to cross over to govt. today
Makes farewell speech to UNP electorate
President visits him in Hanguranketha

UNP National Organiser and Central Provincial Council Opposition Leader S.B. Dissanayake will cross over to the Government today, The Island learns.

Dissanayake summoned the UNP Electorate Organisations (Asana Bala Mandala) of the Central Province for a meeting at his residence in Hanguranketha yesterday and delivered an emotional speech, where he described his political career and how he had left the SLFP to join forces with the UNP, sources said.

He had mentioned that he broke ranks with the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga and worked tirelessly to help UNP to form a government under Ranil Wickremesinghe, sources said.

Then, he had described how none of the ministers of the UNP government had been allowed to work or promote the party by a cabal of Wickremesinghe’s favourites favourites including Charitha Ratwatte. They had not allowed the UNP Ministers to carry out their work, he said asking the electorate organisers to compare the work he had been able to do as a minister under the SLFP and the UNP governments for the people in the Hanguranketha area.

Dissanayake had also described how the party leadership had systematically hindered the powerful, effective and well experienced politicians and paved the way for favourites of the leader to become electorate organisers, sources said adding that he had cited what happened at Matara and Kurunegala districts as evidence.

Sources said Dissanayake had explained how Ranil Wickremesinghe worked for the downfall of the party and made party strongmen break ranks and join forces with the government. At the end, the UNP had been reduced to the level of not being able to field its own candidate at the forthcoming presidential election and the party now had to accept a common candidate selected by the JVP.

Dissanayake told the partymen that Wickremesinghe was not genuinely supporting the campaign to make the common candidate next president but working according to his own agenda to remain as the party leader until 2017.

Dissanayake said that he had not attended Saturday’s UNP Convention.

UNP strongman Sajith Premadasa, who had attended the convention, had been given a seat on the stage but not a speech.

Yesterday’s meeting had commenced around 10 am continued until 1.45 pm, when he received a message that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was on his way to Kandy, would visit him. President Rajapaksa had visited Dissanayake’s home and they had had a one to one meeting which lasted over one hour, sources said. President Rajapaksa had also spoken to Dissanayake’s ailing mother.

President had been seen speaking to all those present after his meeting with Dissanayake, sources said. Among those who attended the Asana Bala Mandalaya meeting were SB Dissanayake’s brother Saliya Dissanayake and former MP Keerthi Mawallage, who was the private secretary of former SLFP leader and Prime Minister the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

The Island learns that SB Dissanayake will join the government at an auspicious time this morning.

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