Amidst an allegation from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that President Maithripala Sirisena is attempting to split the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Parliamentarian and Rajapaksa loyalist, Dullas Alahapperuma announced his resignation from his post as the SLFP Matara District leader.
He told a news conference today that he will submit his resignation to Sirisena, who is also the leader of the SLFP. Citing reasons for his decision, Alahapperuma said that he made the decision in protest against Sirisena’s decision to remove several SLFP front-liners from their organizer positions recently.
On August 17th Sirisena appointed 40 new district and electoral organisers to the SLFP. Sirisena removed several Rajapaksa loyalists from their organizer posts and appointed his loyalists in an effort to strengthen his hold within the party.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa in a statement issued yesterday said that the current leadership of the party is carrying out the second phase of their plan to destroy the SLFP. “The first was the dissolving the local government institutions the vast majority of which were controlled by the SLFP,” he said.
Rajapaksa also added that this was Sirisena’s method of punishing MPs who were loyal to him and were supporting the Joint Opposition.
“Several SLFP electoral organisers including Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C.B. Ratnayake, Gamini Lokuge, Keheliya Rambukwella, and others have been removed from their electoral organiserships by the president. This is the latest round of reprisals against SLFP members associated with the Joint Opposition. On earlier occasions, Dilum Amunugama, Salinda Dissanayake, S.M.Chandrasena, Geetha Kumarasinghe and Prasanna Ranatunga were similarly removed from their organiserships. Puttlam district parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha has been suspended from the party. This persecution has effectively caused a split in the SLFP,” he added.
Rajapaksa said that popular organisers of the SLFP are being removed and replaced with less popular politicians in order to weaken the SLFP and to confer an advantage on the UNP.