Quashing rumours of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) stalwarts crossing over to the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) in the run-up to the upcoming local government polls, the SLFP yesterday expressed confidence that the reverse would prove to be true in the coming days.
Speaking at the weekly SLFP press briefing, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera told journalists that contrary to boasts made by prominent SLPP spokesmen, no SLFP member would join the recently established party that is predominantly made up of the breakaway faction of the party supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We have been duly informed that discussions the SLPP had with certain SLFPers had not gone well. It’s therefore guaranteed that no one from the SLFP will have crossed over by tomorrow,” he said.
Minister Amaraweera also charged that the SLPP nomination lists were filled with corrupt politicians, citing as an example the former Chairman of the Walallavita Pradeshiya Sabha, who was allegedly caught red-handed obtaining a bribe.
A meeting of UPFA party leaders, chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena, is to be held tomorrow at the BMICH, seeking to bring all UPFA candidates for the Local Government polls onto one common platform. According to Amaraweera, all constituent parties of the UPFA that will be fielding candidates for the election will pledge at this event to run as a single, broad alliance while engaging in peaceful and lawful conduct in their respective campaigns.
“All parties contesting under the UPFA banner have already agreed to abide by the rules and regulations governing elections whilst working to instil a better political culture, keeping with the objectives of the President,” he said, adding that several preliminary discussions with other parties had successfully concluded.
At the launch of the UPFA election campaign, to be held on Friday at the Sugathadasa Indoors Stadium, he said, yet another pledge will be made to ensure good conduct in the run-up to the polls. President Sirisena is to make a special request at the event from all candidates to ensure their individual campaigns are environmentally friendly.
Meanwhile, Public Enterprise Development State Minister Laksman Yapa Abeywardana said that a number of “political kingpins” would express their solidarity with the SLFP, starting tomorrow. However, he declined to name these powerful individuals, saying he was not ready to disclose their names.
Codes of conduct have been issued to all candidates, the Minister revealed, as part of policy guidelines formulated by the UPFA President.
He also stressed that no elected UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member would carry out contracts as they were forbidden from doing so.
Of the 22 parties that constitute the UPFA, 15 will contest the upcoming polls through the coalition. According to Abeywardana, the SLFP will directly contest for 123 Pradeshiya Sabhas under its hand symbol, while contesting 207 Pradeshiya Sabhas through the betel leaf symbol of the UPFA.