Mahinda will back SLFP at LG polls - SB

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The SLFP would contest the next local government polls under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) with the support of President Maithripala Sirisena and former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Minister of Social Empowerment and Social Welfare S. B. Dissanayake said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, Dissnayake said President Sirisena had already agreed to lead the campaign as the Chairman of the SLFP led UPFA. Former Presidents Rajapaksa and Kumaratunga, as the SLFP Advisers had expressed their backing for the campaign.

Responding to some media reports that a new alliance would be formed to contest the local government elections under the leadership of former President Rajapaksa, Dissanayake said the former President had never issued such a statement and he was always saying he would remain in the SLFP.

Minister Dissanayake said if President Rajapaksa had wanted to leave the party, he would have done si at the last general election and he, therefore, would never leave the party or allow the SLFP to be divided.

Dissanayake said that if the SLFP were to be split that would be an advantage to the UNP at the next local government election, but it would not happen.

Former Minister Reginald Cooray said that those who had left the SLFP in history, including former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Anura Bandaranaike, Maithripala Senanayake, C. P. de Silva and T. B. Ilangaratne had had to return as there was no future without the party, he said.

Cooray said some elements who would benefit from dividing the SLFP wanted former President Rajapaksa to form a separate party but he (Rajapaksa) would never fall into their trap.

Western Province Chief Minister Isura Dewapriya said those who had been elected to the local government bodies under the UPFA banner would get nominations to contest the polls this time too except those who had corruption charges against them.

Dewapriya said other political parties in the UPFA coalition could not take decisions regarding the SLFP.

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