- Vijithamuni Soysa says that Elpitiya election result is a clear indication that grass-root SLFP supporters not with SLPP
- Claims SLFP has been dismantled and ruined by SLPP
- Calls for SLFP members to back Sajith Premadasa
- Says SLFP members will band together with former President CBK to save SLFP
SLFP Parliamentarian Gamini Vijithamuni Soysa yesterday claimed that a number of SLFP organisers, Provincial Council members and supporters have crossed over to extend their support to New Democratic Front (DNF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa.
The veteran SLFP politician said this at a press conference organised by the UNP yesterday, where several dozen SLFP politicians including veteran politician Victor Appuhami and three Local Government members crossed over and voiced support for the candidacy of Sajith Premadasa. Some supporters of the TNA, EPDP and TULF from Mulathivue and Batticaloa were also present to express their support for the DNF candidate.
Soysa claimed that many grassroots SLFP supporters were not in favour of returning to nepotism and ‘rule by a single family,’ which a Rajapaksa win would bring. He added that therefore SLFP members would not vote for the SLPP or parties like the JVP.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of Energy Ravi Karunanayake claimed that only 31 days remained for SLFP supporters to join hands with the Premadasa campaign and ensure the survival of the SLFP.
“Sajith Premadasa’s win will ensure democracy and we will ensure the political freedom of the SLFPers,” he said.
Some of the SLFP members who voiced their support pointed to instances of booing and unfair treatment of SLFP leaders and fellow members at recent SLPP rallies as a concern. Soyza alleged that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was unable to control members of the SLPP and questioned his capability to bring discipline to the island.
UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara welcomed the crossover of political supporter and pointed out that a government under Sajith Premadasa would ensure that SLFP party members could salvage their party later on.
Soysa argued that the SLPP had dismantled the long-running SLFP party and destroyed it. “The final nail in the SLFP coffin was hammered out recently when an agreement was inked between both parties formalising support for Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” he said. “There are more party faithfuls who will extend support to Premadasa in the coming days,” he added.
Soysa pointed out that many SLFP members were awaiting the return of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to form a broad movement to support Premadasa’s candidacy and thereby save the SLFP. However, he did not give details of the said movement.