New coalition under Mahinda led SLPJP to contest local polls


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

A new coalition led by Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPJP) would contest the next local government election under the leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former minister Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the SLPJP headquarters in Battaramulla, he said all political parties that had rallied around the Joint Opposition (JO) would contest together with SLPJP at the upcoming election.

SLPJP, formed in 2016, is led by former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Pieris and its symbol is the lotus bud.

The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) led by MP Dinesh Gunawardene, Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) led by prof. Tissa Vitarana, National Freedom Front (NFF) led by MP Wimal Weerawansa are among the political parties that have agreed to join the new coalition. In addition, discussions were going on with many other parties including the TMVP.

However, Rajapaksa said that they had not yet decided whether the new coalition would contest under a common banner. The SLPJP would contest in North even though it had only started promoting the party in Northern Province recently, he noted.

Asked whether the former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would join SLPJP’s election campaign, former parliamentarian Rajapaksa said Gotabhaya and the Eliya organisation led by him would back the SLPPJP.

The party was hopeful of winning more than 200 Pradeshiya Sabhas and Municipal Councils, Rajapaksa said.

Asked whether the SLFP members in the government would join forces with the new party, Rajapaksa said their main objective was to test the opinion of the people rather than changing the heads and the SLFP members in the government would join them at the right time.

Responding to Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha’s claim that he (Rajapaksa) was responsible for the delimitation errors, Rajapaksa said that the new delimitation report was full of error and biased for the ruling party, but the JO had not made an issue of it because it was confident of securing an easy win at the next election.

Highlighting the party strength, Rajapaksa said there was a good demand for membership the at village level and majority of its membership were from the SLFP but there were members from JVP and UNP as well. In some villages all SLFP members had joined the SLPJP.

During the media briefing, former Parliamentarian Rajapaksa invited everyone interested in contesting the forthcoming polls under SLPJP to send in their applications or to contact the party headquarters via 0112-866010 for more information.

The party would provide an opportunity to young educated people, especially women to enter politics, he added.


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