Former President and President of the SLFP Chandrika Kumaratunga has turned on the heat in the simmering crisis in the SLFP appointing Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake as its acting President the period that she will be away from the country several months. Informed sources said she had conveyed her written decision to General Secretary of the SLFP Mithripala Sirisena.
She has said that she will be away from the country on health reasons and official work.
Justifying Wickram-anayake`s appointment Ms Kumaratunga describes him as a politician of considerable experience in the top rungs of the party.She said that when the party has been facing a major crisis from a split which threatened its survival, Wickramanayake rendered yeoman service to the party.
Firing a salvo at President Rajapakse she said `Due to the severe harassment meted out to me without any reason by the Vice President of the party Mahinda Rajapakse in the aftermath of his election as President during the last three months it has come to a situation that I cannot effectively discharge my duties as the President of the party` she complained.
She referred to a letter that she had sent to Mithripala Sirisena on March 01 complaining about the harassment and said that on a number of occasions she had not been allowed to perform her official duties in a smooth manner.Her official security was curtailed and she had been deprived of most of the privileges that she enjoyed. As a result of such she claimed that she had not been able to perform as the leader of the party for several months.
`Since I am in the habit of doing what ever the task with dedication I find it difficult to work under these conditions,as the President continues to create a lot of problems for me. His action could jeorpadise the future of the party which we built with much dedication and devotion she noted.
I have not forgotten how certain elements in our party joined secretly with the UNP to oust Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike while the party was at a low.These elements worked together to see that the SLFP Presidential Candidate Hector Kobbekaduwa defeated.We have also not forgotten the year where tens and thousands of party supporters were massacred and an equal number was rendered homeless.`When I met President on February 07 at a two and a half hour conference I told him that we should discharge our duties as the President of the country and the president of the party respectively with mutual understanding and working in a manner that will not disrupt the smooth functioning of the government and the party. I also proposed that if the party leadership meets and take decisions on the key issues in a cordial environment once a week we could get rid of these problems` she had said in the letter. she had made an ernest plea to the General Secretary of the party Mithripala Sirisena not to indulge in any activity that will jeopardise the future of the party though three will be threats from others.