JO flays Sampanthan, demands Opp Leader’s post

TNA backing for PM

 By Shamindra Ferdinando

Joint Opposition heavyweight Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday told The Island that having saved UNP leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe from the No-Confidence Motion (NCM), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had no right to sit in the opposition, let alone hold the post of the Opposition Leader.

Those who faithfully served the interests of Wickremesinghe and his party since the change of government in January 2015 had no moral right to hold the Opposition Leader’s Office.

Sixteen TNA members voted against the NCM.

Gampaha District MP said that the Opposition Leader’s post should be given to the JO without further delay.

Ranatunga explained the JO’s struggle to secure the Opposition Leader’s Office at Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations in the Minuwangoda electorate over the weekend.

Ranatunga alleged that both President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe lacked understanding of the extreme difficulties experienced by those struggling to make ends meet. The UNP and SLFP leaders had been preoccupied with ongoing power struggles within the government as well as their own parties and were now making a desperate bid to consolidate their hold, Ranatunga said.

Ranatunga said that those SLFPers who voted for the NCM had been told they have no right to serve in the cabinet. Then, how come TNA leader R. Sampanthan held the post of the Opposition Leader after having voted against the genuine Opposition, Ranatunga asked.

The SLFP group now in the government had been divided into two with a section backing Wickremesinghe. In an obvious reference to SLFP and UPFA General Secretaries, Duminda Dissanayake and Mahinda Amaraweera, respectively, Ranatunga said that those Secretaries who skipped the vote on NCM backed Wickremesinghe. Inviting the SLFPers in President Sirisena’s camp to join the JO, Ranatunga said that those in Wickremesinghe camp wouldn’t be accommodated.

Ranatunga faulted President Sirisena and ministers Dissanayake and Amaraweera for the current plight of the SLFP.

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