MPs Mahindananda Aluthgamage and W.D.J.Senevirathne at the press briefing yesterday
- Says MR and other members still paying membership fees to SLFP so therefore remain members
- SLPP to issue statement on 10 Nov. ceremony where MR and others accepted membership
By Nuwan Senarathna
MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday denied that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and others did not join the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) despite earlier statements that they had obtained membership of SLPP along with Rajapaksa.
“I can assure that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is still a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) along with the rest of us. Therefore, whatever United National Party (UNP) says is baseless,” MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage told reporters at Dr. N.M. Perera centre. The press conference was the first after MP Mahinda Rajapaksa was named as the Opposition Leader by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday in Parliament.
He claimed Rs. 3000 was deducted from MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s MP salary and credited to SLFP account which was according to him a normal procedure that all SLFP MPs must follow to retain their membership of the party. He argued that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa would not follow such procedure if he had left SLFP and joined SLPP, insisting all MPs who claimed earlier that they had joined SLPP also credited Rs. 3000 monthly to the party account.
“Even last month Rs. 3000 was deducted from MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s salary and credited to SLFP account,” he added. He claimed such payments would provide enough evidence that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa had not resigned from SLFP.
Aluthgamage argued if SLFP had stripped the membership of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, the party would have issued a letter regarding its decision but such a letter has not been issued. Therefore, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s membership had not been removed.
“SLFP had not taken any decision to strip SLFP membership of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa. If they have taken such decision they would have sent a letter to him informing party’s decision,” he argued.
Aluthgamage also said SLFP would take a decision over three MPs who had joined UNP on Tuesday in Parliament to support Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP. He noted that the central committee of SLFP had also taken a decision to take actions against the three MPs who had crossed over.
When asked about the ceremony held at MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official residence on 10 November where he and MPs who supported him obtained membership of SLPP and the twitter messages of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa stating that they had joined SLPP, MP Aluthgamage sidestepped the question and said SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam would issue a statement to clarify the event.
Meanwhile, MP Dr. Harsha de Silva questioned on Twitter a message posted by MP Namal Rajapaksa stating MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and other SLFP MPs had joined SLPP. In response, MP Namal Rajapaksa also sidestepping the issue, stated that it was a matter pertaining to the SLFP and SLPP which they would resolve internally.
Pic by Lasantha Kumara