A tussle over SLNPS leadership in Polonnaruwa

ODD MAN OUT -Former President Maithripala Sirisena with his eyes closed and hands together as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Shiranthi Rajapaksa look on as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa signs his nomination papers surrounded by party leaders in Colombo March 11, 2020

The Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Sandhanaya (SLNPS) is facing a tussle over who should lead their campaign in the upcoming Parliamentary General elections in the key Polonnaruwa district.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena who is the Chairman of the alliance is the leading politician in the area but the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna supporters in the area want Roshan Ranasinghe to be the leader.

The local party organisation voted unanimously that Ranasinghe should lead the alliance and informed the alliance leadership about their decision Thursday.

At the same time, Sirisena signed his nomination papers at Temple Trees as an SLNPS candidate for Polonnaruwa but was not formally appointed the district leader.

On Wednesday the SLNPS announced the names of the district leaders who signed their papers at Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s residence at Wijerama Mawatha.

Sirisena was present at the event, standing behind Rajapaksa with his palms together, but was not invited to sign his papers at the time.

Ranasinghe, meanwhile, has been attacking Sirisena on his home ground. He has been supported by other SLPP stalwarts including Gampaha leader Prasanna Ranatunge who asked voters “not to choose anyone connected to Sirisena.”

The SLFP, the second biggest component of the SLNPS, has been under fire from the alliance partner with the Party General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara complaining that his party members are being “treated like Grade 2 students.”

-Arjuna Ranawana

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