SB holds out olive branch to dissidents



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SLFP leaders have not completely lost their love for their erstwhile colleagues who are contesting under the lotus bud symbol of the SLPP and there is a very high likelihood of the two parties rejoining to secure power in local government bodies after the Feb 10 elections, Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage S. B. Dissanayake says.


Addressing the SLFP electoral organisation meeting at Madanwala in Hanguranketha on Sunday (7), the Minister said: "We have not ruled out the possibility of re-joining with our members in the SLPP even after the Feb. 10 polls. There is a strong possibility of our two forces coming together to secure power in local government bodies after the election. If that happens, then our victory in 2020 too is assured.


"Most of those in the SLPP are not capable of winning the elections themselves. They are dependent on the popularity of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They might be able to win but to control the local government bodies they will have to join us.


"Eleven members now in the SLPP tried to join the UNP after the August 2015 general election. President Maithripala Sirisena spoke to the Prime Minister and prevented that. One or two names became known, but other names remain a secret. We did not reveal them because we need them be with us someday when we form our own government. We still have not lost our love and friendship with them. Had they been with us today, winning the forthcoming elections would have been very easy. We still consider them as colleagues with whom we can forge an alliance. It is not the first time SLFP leaders broke ranks and came back to the party fold.


"When a strong set of leaders broke away from the SLFP, the then leader Maithripala Senanayake became helpless; TB Illangaratne became helpless. But, later on those who left the party returned. Those who came back apologised and were made to pay a fine of two rupees.


"When the present split occurred, most of the seniors did not join the dissidents. Anura Priydarshana Yapa was removed from the General Secretary post, but he chose to remain in the party. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha was removed from his post, but he, too, remained with us.


Other senior leaders like DM Jayaratne, Nimal Siripala de Silva, John Senevirtane, A.H.M. Fowzie etc did not leave us. Therefore, we still think we should unite for the victory of our party. We should do so in the name of members. It is the members who lose whenever leaders fight."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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