The internal power struggle within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has taken a new turn with President Maithripala Sirisena resorting to stern action on several members of the ’15 Group’ citing performance issues.
Sirisena axed Susil Premajayanth, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, John Seneviratne, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Chandima Weerakkody from their organizer positions yesterday, claiming they have failed to set up balamandala committees in their electorates.
This was followed by the removal of John Seneviratne, Anura Yapa and Chandima Weerakkody from their positions as Co-Chairmen of Development Committees of their districts.
Sirisena made another interesting move by appointing Dayasiri Jayasekera as the new Co-Chairman of the Kurunegala District Development Committee, replacing Yapa.
Two Sirisena loyalists, State Minister Piyasena Gamage and Athula Kumara Rahubadde have been appointed to the remaining two positions, vacated by Weerakkody and Seneviratne.
Although Jayasekera was previously a member of the same group, he later met Sirisena separately and expressed willingness to re-join the SLFP group of the government. Colombo Telegraph learns that Jayasekera is also the front-runner for the party’s General Secretary post.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph, a senior SLFP Parliamentarian said none of the members of the ’15 group’ attended the SLFP Central Committee meeting earlier this week.
“It could be a sign that the group is in the process of distancing themselves from the affairs of the party,” he explained.
He also added that Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, the interim General Secretary of the party, presented a report to the SLFP Central Committee this week, claiming none of them had formed balamandala committees in their electorates.
When asked what prompted President Sirisena to look into their performance at this point, the Parliamentarian said it was part of SLFP’s preparation for the next Provincial Council election.
According to party sources, however, the move will thrust them towards the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the breakaway party formed by the Rajapaksa family targeting the next national elections. (By Tilini Rajapakse)