Earlier this month political gadfly MP S B Dissanayake told reporters that “on the 18th of November we will be Ministers again” after he confirmed he was supporting Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential bid.
But increasingly it looks as if Dissanayake and other senior Sri Lanka Freedom Party stalwarts who dumped their party to gather around the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna may not get a seat at the head table if Gotabaya does win.
The expectation is that Gotabaya would dismiss the current government and appoint an interim administration with a reduced Cabinet. That administration will have to accommodate all the 14 leaders of the parties in the coalition that is backing the SLPP to lead the campaign in a future Parliamentary General Election.
They include leaders such as Wimal Weerawansha, Udaya Gammanpila, Douglas Devananda, A L M Athaulla and others, leaving little room for the likes of Dissanayake.
This is the probable reason that some senior SLFP hands who had publicly left the party and joined the SLPP were seeking to return acting SLFP Chairman Prof Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa told RepublicNext.
“Several of them including MP Dilan Perera and S B Dissanayake have made overtures to President Maithripala Sirisena,” he said.
The SLFP in the meantime has begun a disciplinary inquiry into the conduct of Perera and Dissanayake, both National List appointees. They are being disciplined for joining the SLPP along with some 33 others who are accused of “working for other parties” party spokesman, Weerakumara Nanayakkara said.
Dissanayake was also removed from his party Treasurer post.
The SLFP is also taking a firm stance that its members continue to work towards rebuilding its organizational structure.
“We have set our sights on the Parliamentary General election and for that, we need a strong electorate level structure,” he said.
Piyadasa denied news reports that the former Chief Minister of the Western Province and current Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority Isuru Devapriya had been stripped of his party posts.
However Devapriya “was warned that he has not done the organizational work he is expected to perform,” Piyadasa said. Social Media sites supporting Devapriya had posted that he had been removed from all party positions.
The acting Chairman said that Devapriya was “heavily engaged in canvassing support for the SLPP and neglecting his SLFP organizer duties.”
The reason for these erstwhile senior politicians to trek back to the SLFP is because there is a very remote chance that they would get Cabinet post in an SLPP government.