Leadership change not anticipated, ready to face probe on alleged foreign intelligence links
National Freedom Party (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has reiterated the urgent need to create a suitable top level position for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
The NFF parliamentary group in the SLPP consists of six lawmakers.
Minister Weerawansa emphasised that the NFF’s stand as regards the SLPP didn’t in any way mean Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s role as the leader of the party wasn’t required.
Lawmaker Weerawansa said so outside the Negombo court complex yesterday (9). The Minister was responding to media queries whether he would apologize for publicly calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be given an opportunity to directly work with the SLPP.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the SLPP nomination at the 2019 Nov presidential election though he was never a member of that party.
Minister Weerawansa emphasized President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would be able to liaise with other political forces if he received a high position in the party, while Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa remained the leader. The former JVP heavyweight said that the NFF’s proposal would be equally good for the government as well as the country.
SLPP General Secretary and one-time State Counsel Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, strongly criticized Weerawansa for intervening in SLPP affairs. National List MP Kariyawasam questioned the NFF leader’s right to suggest leadership change.
Minister Weerawansa insisted that he never called for leadership change but a suitable arrangement for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to work closely with other political parties.
Minister Weerawansa said that he was not worried about criticism directed at him by newcomers to parliamentary politics. Weerawansa was referring to statements issued by lawmakers Sagara Kariyawasam and Kalutara District MP Sanjiva Edirimanna.
Responding to SLPP Administrative Secretary Renuka Perera’s accusations that NFF members namely two medical doctors were on the payroll of foreign intelligence services, Minister Weerawansa urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to direct the IGP to initiate an inquiry after having recorded statements of the accusers. Minister Weerawansa emphasized that there was absolutely no basis for such accusations.
Weerawansa explained how he campaigned for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the 2005 presidential election much to the discomfort of his then JVP colleagues, quit the JVP in 2008 to throw his weight behind President Mahinda Rajapaksa amidst efforts made by the JVP to sabotage the war effort, spearheading the high profile ‘Mahinda Sulanga’ campaign in the wake of presidential polls defeat in 2015 and promoting Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s candidature at the 2019 presidential poll. Minister Weerawansa said if the SLPP wanted him to apologize for those above decisions of his he would gladly do so.
Minister Weerawansa emphasized that the SLPP’s stand that constituents had no right to comment on the main party wasn’t acceptable. Weerawansa questioned if that was the case how could they have commented on the UNP, JVP and other political parties.