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SLFP bigwigs say ‘No’ to Dinesh

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Cabinet spokesman claims ‘Nimal Siripala has no rights’

Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the Cabinet press briefing held on Friday (April 3) claimed that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are the only parties who are eligible to hold the post of Opposition Leader in Parliament.

“No one who belongs to the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) or to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is eligible for the post,” he said. He also mentioned that if Nimal Siripala de Silva is not eligible and has no rights to hold the post of the opposition leader, Dinesh Gunawardena too cannot be the Opposition Leader simply because they belong to the UPFA.

However, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Leader and UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena claimed that Nimal Siripala de Silva cannot hold the post of the Opposition Leader simply because he belongs to the government and it is against Parliamentary practice.
“It is a parliamentary practice that a person belongs to the government cannot be the Opposition Leader’, said MP Gunawardena. He also mentioned the fact that the issue of who should be the Opposition Leader arose when the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) decided to join the government. ‘We have the right to sit in the Opposition and the Speaker decided that we belong to the Opposition,’ said Gunawardena.

However, the UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha had said that if Nimal Siripala de Silva is not entitled to hold the post of Opposition Leader then Dinesh Gunawardena too is not entitled to the post of the Opposition Leader since both of them belong to the same party,

Replying to the statement, MP Gunawardena said, ‘He (Premajayantha) engages in political double-talks. They are betraying their party by joining hands with the United National Party (UNP) and they come up with this type of reasoning to cover up what they are doing. There is no political honesty in whatsoever in what they say.’

However, he mentioned that the Speaker’s ruling will prevail regarding the issue. SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa expressing his notion on the matter said that the logic of Gunawardena is completely wrong and they too belong to the same party. ‘The whole interpretation given by Dinesh Gunawardena is wrong because they are a part of UPFA. We all contested for the election under the same symbol which is the betel leaf,’ said Yapa.

He further mentioned that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is of the opinion that Nimal Siripala de Silva has the right to hold the post of the Opposition Leader. ‘We don’t see any issue of him holding the post of the Opposition Leader,’ he said. However, a final decision regarding the issue will be reached on April 7.

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