Multiple sources of the government and the opposition confirmed that Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra’s move to cross over to the common opposition ‘quickened’ Udaya Gammanpila decision to break ranks with the JHU.
While it is widely believed that a businessman-Parliamentarian who is officially representing the opposition acted as the “broker” of the crossover, Hirunika Premeachandra’s presence in the common opposition has also been a major reason for Gammanpila’s exit.
“It was widely rumoured among political sources that the Hirunika was promised the Chief Ministerial post of the Western Provincial Council. Maybe Gammanpila was aware of that. On the other hand, Hirunika topped the preferential votes list of the Colombo district, surpassing Gammanpila, who was certainly the favorite among the two. He knew that his next step would be the CM post of the Provincial Council and Hirunika was the biggest obstacle standing in his way. The President, at a critical juncture, cashed in on Gammanpila’s concern,” a senior spokesman of the government told Asian Mirror on Thursday evening.
Therefore, the Sinhala-Buddhist decision to re-join the government was completely based on his personal aspirations.
Asian Mirror reliably learns that Gammanpila had no issue with the concept of fielding a Common Candidate at the presidential election. In fact, he was one of the first people to discuss the matter with UNP National Leader Ranil Wikremesinghe. We are in a position to reveal that Gammanpila held nearly 10 one to one meetings with Wickremesinghe, a few months ago, when the UNP was exploring its options with regard to the presidential election.
Addressing a press conference that was held at the SLFP headquarters after his defection, Gammanpila said that he could not support the efforts of the UNP to regain power. He dubbed it as the main reason for his defection from the Jathika Hela Urumaya. But, it was widely known among informed quarters of the opposition that Gammanpila was one of the first to come up with the idea of forming a common coalition with the UNP – while serving as a Minister of the Western Provincial Council.
There is still a question over position he would get after his re-marriage with the UPFA government. Since his defection from the JHU and the Common Opposition occurred over the CM post of the Western Provincial Council, the government would have to pander to his aspirations. But, it is impossible to believe that present Chief Minister of the Western Province Prasanna Ranatunga will be removed from his position in the near future to make way for Gammanpila.
Therefore, Gammanpila is likely to get back his old ministerial portfolio in the Provincial Council as an immediate reward – probably with some other benefits!