Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva fired a fresh salvo at the group supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa stating that the 5.8 million votes obtained by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were not his personal votes.
The Opposition Leader’s criticism was directed at the group who had asked “5.8 million voters of former President Rajapaksa” to gather at Nugegoda on the evening of February 18 for a public rally.
“First of all I must say that the 5.8 million voters cast their votes in favour of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. These are not his personal votes. Any member of the SLFP contesting has a wide vote base. It is not a personal vote. It is true that the former President Rajapaksa had charisma, apart from being a brave and proud personality. He will always be in the hearts and minds of the people, but that is only one aspect. That does not mean that the SLFP and other parties in the UPFA have lost their vote base. Therefore, I think (may be with good intentions) some parties are trying to bring him back as the Prime Ministerial candidate,” the Opposition Leader said in an interview with ‘Daily News’ today.
“But, I am of the assurance given by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he would never split the SLFP because he is a product of the SLFP. His father and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike crossed over together and formed the SLFP. So therefore I do not think the former President will act in a manner that divides the SLFP and stifles its victory at the next General Election,” he also added.
The Opposition Leader also stated that his loyalty towards the party has not been duly rewarded.
“I am a very senior SLFPer like the current President Maithripala Sirisena or any other senior member of the party. But, I never betrayed my party, the SLFP. I always stood by the party and I never left it. But, I feel that my loyalty and dedication towards the party has not been recognized and that’s my perception,” he added.