By Shamindra Ferdinando
Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday said that he wouldn’t, under any circumstances, throw his weight behind on-going bring-back-Mahinda campaign.
“I’m committed to President Maithripala Sirisena as well as the SLFP, therefore there’s no basis for speculation of my getting on the former President’s platform,” CM Jayasekera told The Island yesterday.
Former UNP MP asserted that a section of the SLFP and some UPFA constituents had been engaged in a futile exercise to pave the way for the return of the former President at the expense of the SLFP. Emphasising that he had tirelessly campaigned for the former President at the last presidential election, CM Jayasekera said that elected representatives of the SLFP at all levels should now accept President Maithripala Sirisena’s leadership or face the consequences.
CM Jayasekera said: “People often ask me whether I’m with Mahinda or Maithripala. My standard response to them is I’m an SLFPer. The party should move forward with President Maithripala Sirisena unless it wants to suffer a debilitating split in the run-up to the next parliamentary election.”
The former President might not even contest the next general election in spite of intense speculation that he was planning to go it alone due to simmering differences with President Maithripala Sirisena, he said.
Referring to President Maithripala Sirisena pushing for the passage of the 20 Amendment ahead of the forthcoming dissolution of parliament, CM Jayasekera urged the SLFP representatives at all levels to cooperate with the new SLFP leader.
Responding to a query, CM Jayasekera said that he strongly opposed the on-going efforts to undermine President Maithripala Sirisena’s leadership as well as efforts to cause chaos in Parliament. Recollecting his role in earlier Sajith Premadasa-led campaign to oust UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, CM Jayasekera said that he like several of his colleagues suffered humiliating defeat. “I don’t want to experience a similar fate. Having struggled for years, I had to switch allegiance to the SLFP. The UNP leader ended up receiving the premiership whereas Sajith Premadasa functions as the Deputy Leader of the Party as well as a minister.”