By Shamindra Ferdinando
Close on the heels of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader MP Udaya Gammanpila’s declaration that the SLPP rebels and the SJB had the required strength to move a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the government, fellow rebel lawmaker Vasudeva Nanayakkara has accused the SJB of trying to save the incumbent dispensation.
The General Secretary of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) Nanayakkara yesterday (26) told a hastily arranged media briefing, at his Maradana office, how the SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa had cooperated with the SLPP strongman Basil Rajapaksa to undermine their efforts to move the proposed NCM.
Fielding questions, former Water Supply Minister Nanayakkara claimed that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, appeared to have been involved in the conspiracy.
The Opposition Leader’s Office dismissed MP Nanayakkara’s allegations.
Referring to UNP leader Wickremesinghe’s recent statement in Parliament where he had urged members to delay whatever action until Finance Minister Ali Sabry, PC, briefed the House of the outcome of his talks with the IMF, lawmaker Nanayakkara accused the ex-PM of interfering with their strategy.
Those who had been asking the current dispensation to quit were now playing a different tune, Nanayakkara said, questioning the SJB leader’s attitude towards the moves underway to get rid of the government.
Responding to another query, MP Nanayakkara said that SJB leader Premadasa desperately wanted an early general election. However, MP Premadasa appeared to have sought an assurance from SLPP founder Basil Rajapaksa to provide the required support to form a government as the SJB on its own couldn’t muster a simple majority, MP Nanayakkara said.
Nanayakkara said that the SLPP rebel group would go it alone at the next general election.
Asked how Basil wielded so much power as various groups pulled in different directions, MP Nanayakkara alleged the former Finance continued to interfere in their efforts to compel the entire Cabinet of Ministers including PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to quit.
The DLF General Secretary said while a group of protesters sustained a high profile ‘Gota Go Home’ protest opposite the Presidential Secretariat, Basil Rajapaksa continued to protect the PM.
When it was pointed out that both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa remained in office in spite of the growing demands for their immediate resignations, MP Nanayyakara urged the public to send in postcards to the Premier asking him to leave. According to him, Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa remained in office after having promised to step down on more than one occasion.
Nanayakkara said that the government in an obvious bid to appease the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even before an agreement could be reached with the outfit, had depreciated the rupee, abolished price controls and increased interest rates, thereby causing the sudden increase in prices of all commodities and services.
Nanayakkara said the SLPP was now down to 106 members.
At the last general election, the SLPP secured 145 seats and the SJB 54.