The UPFA rebels supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after a secret meeting at MP Gamini Lokuge’s house last night, have decided to sever their ties with SLFP and contest under a separate party at the upcoming Local Government elections.
The meeting at Lokuge’s residence in Kesbewa was attended by parliamentarians Dinesh Gunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila, Prasanna Ranatunga, Bandula Gunawardane, Wimal Weerawansa and several others.
The new front will include all affiliated parties in the UPFA other than the SLFP. Also a large group of SLFP MP’s loyal to Rajapaksa are set to support the new alliance, according to one of the rebel group members.
The rebel group had reportedly met at Lokuge’s residence last night after President and SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena decided to vest the responsibility of reorganizing the party machinery with MP S.B. Dissanayake.
Dissanayake earlier made a back door entry to the parliament through the UPFA national list after he was defeated at the last general election by the voters of the Kandy district.
According to the rebel group member Rajapaksa still holds sway among the grassroots members of the SLFP and the new alliance with the blessings of the former President is confident of winning a majority of councils defeating both Sirisena led SLFP and Wickremesinghe led UNP.
The new alliance is to be led by Kalutara district parliamentarian Kumara Welgama. Rajapaksa is expected to support from the sidelines without entering the fray directly.
The UPFA rebels also have decided to use the recent UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka as their main slogan.
The group have already started a series of meetings to make the public aware about the negative aspects of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka. The inaugural meeting in this regards was held at the Viharamahadevi park yesterday.