SB holds Rajapaksas responsible for SLFP split

BY Harischandra Gunaratna

Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S. B. Dissanayake yesterday said the Rajapaksas themselves were responsible for the crisis brewing in the SLFP and the split in the party.

Dissanayake addressing journalists at his ministry office at Battaramulla said that "A large number loyal supporters are leaving the party as they are disillusioned and the dictotarial; selfishness of Gotabhaya and Basil had created the present situation.

The Minister said it was not ethical for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to form a new political party. If he did so it would not be fair by those who had stood by him during crises without leaving the party.

Dissanayake vowed that he would not allow the party to fall apart due to the selfishness a few individuals, and would help re-organise the party with the assistance of senior SLFPer who felt for the party.

Dissanayake said reorganisation of the SLFP had begun and new party organisers would be appointed where necessary.

Dissanayake lashed out at the Joint Opposition, claiming that Mahinda Rajapaksa was surrounded by rogues who having helped themselves to public funds were thinking they could bring back Rajapaksa to power and have themselves exonerated.

He said, "The rift in the party would not have occurred if Mahinda Rajapaksa had not objected to nominating Chamal Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate at the last parliamentary polls.

Dissanayake was of the opinion that the UPFA had lost a large chunk of the minority vote due the short sighted policies of Gotabhaya.

He said the Catholic vote which was 55% for the UNP and 45% to the SLFP had dropped to loss them 20% for the SLFP under the Rajapaksa government. The SLFP had also lost the Muslim vote, he said.

Dissanayake said the ‘Pada Yatra had not yielded the results expected by the Joint Opposition and not more than 3,000–4,000 people had taken part in the protest march.

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