Ranil loyalist crosses over to government

He was shot in Matara clash


By Dasun Edirisinghe

Southern Provincial Council Galle District UNP member Krishantha Pushpakumara alias Raththaran yesterday crossed over to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) after meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Carlton, Tangalle.

Pushpakumara was part of the mob that attacked the anti-Ranil Wickremesinghe reformist march in Matara on October 05.

Pushpakumara told The Island that he would formally join the SLFP tomorrow (03) by taking up its membership.

"I was disappointed with UNP leader Wickremesinghe as I was not given any position in the party even after obtaining the highest number of preferential votes from the Galle District, 52,371 at the 2009 Provincial Council election," he said.

After former Opposition Leader of the Southern Provincial Council Buddhika Pathirana was elected to Parliament in 2010, the post had been given by the leadership to Siri Wijewickrema, who polled only 14, 274, Pushpakumara said, adding it should have been given to him as the one who polled highest number of votes after Pathirana.

He said that Wickremesinghe had not even given him the Akmeemana organiser post which went to Wijepala Hettiarachchi, who had polled only 6,000 votes from that electorate. "I obtained 13,000 preferential votes from the Akmeemana electorate."

An irate Pushpakumara said the despite all that he continued to remain in the party and supported the leadership hoping it would capture power, but it was a mere dream to expect Wickremesinghe to climb to that highest post. "I decided to join the government and will contest the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election from the UPFA," he added.

Pushpakumara, who received gunshot injuries during the attack on UNP reformists led protest by pro–Ranil Wickremesinghe faction at Matara. Later he was released on bail by the Matara Magistrate. He alleged that UNP reformist Maithree Gunaratne’s father Herman had shot him during the confrontation.

During Pushpakumara’s stay at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, all UNP heavyweights including leader Wickremesinghe and General Secretary Tissa Attanayake visited him.

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