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Tensions rise between SLPP and SLFP

Dayasiri Jayasekara hugs Kumara Welgama as he comes to the SLFP headquarters/Whatsapp image

More people are coming around to accept the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said.

His comments come as tensions between the SLFP and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) are on the rise.

The latest salvo was fired on Tuesday (2) by former Minister Anura Priyadashana Yapa calling all SLFP members to gather around Mahinda Rajapaksa and accept his leadership.

According to a press release issued by the SLPP, Yapa said that the SLFP is deteriorating at a rapid pace at the grassroots level.

“The membership is decreasing as they are rejecting the party,” Yapa who was an SLFP stalwart but is now with Rajapaksa’s SLPP said.

“To retain their dignity, they should leave and join us,” he said. “They should back our candidate (for the Presidency),” he added.

Yapa was responding to events that took place over the weekend.

Last week, outspoken Kalutara District United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Kumara Welgama openly criticised the presumptive SLPP candidate for the presidency, former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Welgama told the media after a court appearance on 27 June that he could not support a candidate who had been accused of involvement in murder.

On the following day, the SLPP fired back, with MP Dullas Alahapperuma saying that the party will take disciplinary action against Welgama.

“Even the UNP has not said the things that he has said about Gotabaya,” Alahapperuma said.

SLFP’s Mahinda Amaraweera hugs Kumara Welgama as the latter joins in a celebration at the Darley Road party headquarters on 28 June

The same evening, the SLFP had a Central Committee meeting at its newly refurbished headquarters in Darley Road.

After the meeting ended, the members stayed back for a short ceremony to celebrate the refurbishment. At that time in walked Welgama to join the festivities.

There were hugs all around as the MPs welcomed him back into the fold.

Asked about this, the SLFP General Secretary told RepublicNext, “he has joined us to take the work of the party forward.”

“Like him, many other members of the party are coming around and accepting the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena,” he said.