As President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attempted to informally bribe MPs to continuously retain their support within the Yahapalanaya Government by doling out various bonanzas in the guise of ‘allowances’, former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa has kicked off a new mission to poach MPs from the ruling coalition.
Highly placed sources said that Rajapaksa has been holding talks with several MPs who are ‘on the fence’. “But, so far the discussions have only commenced, but it is not likely that there will be a finalization anytime soon, but the talks have begun,” sources said.
The discussions come just days since Basil Rajapaksa obtained membership of the Sri Lanka People’s Front (SLPF), led by former External Affairs minister G.L. Peiris, a loyalist of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“The present leadership is granting various financial benefits to the MPs saying that they are underpaid to ensure that they remain within the government ranks. However, if a strong opposition is built, there can be a possibility that some MPs who still have loyalty to Mahinda Rajapaksa might consider switching sides,” a source said.
The new SLPF has also been having discussions with provincial level politicians, and several provincial politicians have already joined the new party and are likely to contest the local government elections scheduled for next year.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Anti-Corruption Front Ven. Ulapane Sumangala said this week that the Rajapaksa family was frantically attempting to make a comeback to power, as the current government continues to lose credibility as well as its popularity.
He said that as the incumbent government has failed to fulfill its promises pledged to the masses; and both Mahinda and Basil Rajapaksa were trying to make a comeback by forming the SLPF.
“The people have fallen from the frying pan to the fire,” Ven. Sumangala said, while adding that corrupt elements such as the Rajapaksa’s were trying to use the situation and reclaim power.