President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday scotched speculation, in political circles, that he sought to oust former President Chandrika Kumaratunga from the stewardship of the SLFP. He said so addressing the first meeting of the Mihindu Sevena Housing Project by the National Savings Bank.
He said he considered any move to make him SLFPpresident at a time when former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was out of the country, unethical and exhorted the party membership to desist from making such an effort.
Kumaratunga left the country a few days before the local government elections, appointing her loyalist Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake the acting SLFPpresident, a move which angered many senior SLFPers as there was provision for an acting president in the party constitution.
`I would not want anyone to propose my name for the SLFP Presidency now`, President Rajapakse said.
He said the party had to wait till the return of its leaders for any such decision to be made.
Sources said everything was ready in the party for Rajapakse to be appointed its president, as that post was of crucial importance in making nominations for future election.
During the past two months, a number of senior SLFPers had been discussing the proposal to oust Kumaratunga as she was said to have discouraged the party Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapakse within the party before he started his election campaign in November last year.
It was also known that she had predicted his defeat at the one of the SLFP Central Committee meetings.