ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) former general secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara’s suspension from party membership is only temporary and he may return to the fold on one condition, SLFP chairman Maithripala Sirisena said.
Speaking to reporters in Colombo on Wednesday September 06, Sirisena said
“He hasn’t been removed. His duties have temporarily been suspended,” said Sirisena.
The former president is also facing a court case over the SLFP chairmanship, he said speaking to reporters at the SLFP headquarters, though he declined to elaborate.
“Jayasekara can come back to the party without any problem. We’ll take him back in any capacity other than secretary,” said Sirisena.
“His membership has been temporarily suspended, but that can be changed anytime if he comes to an agreement with us and stops the various things he’s been doing,” he said.
Sirisena defended the move to suspend Dayasiri, claiming that such decisions have not been uncommon in the SLFP’s 72-year history.
Asked about his seemingly close relationship with Jayasekara until now, Sirisena said: “Yes, that’s how it is. It’s the one you’re closest to that…” he trailed off, laughing.
A letter dated September 05 and signed by Sirisena informed Jayasekara that he has been removed from the party and therefore he would cease to function as party secretary.
A disciplinary inquiry is also to be held against the MP, the letter said.
Jayasekara told EconomyNext Wednesday September 06 morning that a course of action has yet to be decided.
“Let’s see how it goes,” he said.
Addressing the SLFP’s 72nd anniversary celebration on Sunday, Jayasekara said a crisis situation exists in the party due to difference of opinion.
“We are engaged in talks to resolve that crisis. Today we’re in the middle of a massive geopoltical crisis.
“We must all come to one mind and we have to either do politics in the government or in the opposition. We have to choose one,” he said.
“Our leader has brought us together with great difficulty. So there is no need to have problems between us,” he added.
On August 31, Jayasekara responded to reports that sections of the party are conspiring to have him removed from the position. This was following a last-minute decision to shift the SLFP’s 72nd anniversary celebrations from Kurunegala, his electorate, to Colombo.
Speaking to reporters after Thursday evening’s party meeting, Jayasekara said he only learnt Thursday evening about the decision. Asked if it is true that the party’s general secretary doesn’t know what’s going on in his own party, he said: “I didn’t know before. But I know today.”
If Sirisena and the SLFP central committee no longer wishes to have him on board, Jayasekara said, he is happy to leave.
“I’ll remain in the party, though,” he said.
“There is no pushback against me from the bottom. It’s a few at the top level who want me out so they can go and plug this party to [President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP)],” he said. (Colombo/Sep06/2023)