Maithri declines UPFA offer


By Lal Gunasekera

An offer from the government to a leading UNP reformist to contest the Southern Provincial Council election under the UPFA banner has been politely declined.

A UNP MP turned Cabinet minister made overtures to former Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Gunaratne told The Island yesterday (19) that the former UNP stalwart had told him that President Rajapaksa wanted hard working politicians to join the UPFA.

Gunaratne said the minister had told him that the Southern Province Chief Minister’s post could not be promised, but if he obtained the highest number of votes, he could secure that post.

Gunaratne, however, said that he told the Cabinet minister, that he would continue to remain in the UNP and continue his struggle. "I told him to thank President Rajapaksa for the offer and reminded him that President Rajapaksa, too, had overcome problems within the party to rise to the highest position in the country."

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