Minister Rajitha Senaratne

Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Rajitha Senaratne today said there were only two options open to him and other MPs who ‘stood against corruption’ in the event that United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) nominations were given to candidates who have serious allegations of corruption.

“If that happens (nominations being given), we have only two options. We have to decide whether we stay on the political stage and fight or pack up and go home,” he told journalists.

However, the minister said it was not a decision he nor other politicians could take alone. “We have to consult our supporters and civil society activists before taking a decision,” he added.

The minister said President Sirisena was aware of the anger that was brewing among those who supported him after news broke that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and others would be granted nominations. “The President is aware (of the anger) and is shaken,” he claimed, stating that this was why the President was consulting all sections on the matter. “President Sirisena has been with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for 47 years, 13 of those as its General Secretary. He is wrestling with the fact that his decision may end up splitting the party. That is why he is under so much pressure from all sides”.

When queried whether Senaratne was disappointed with the present state of affairs, the minister replied he couldn’t say he wasn’t. “I have no issue with staying on in the party and helping it to win. But we have to consider matters of policy,” he said.

Describing the upcoming General Election as “the most controversial election I have ever faced,” Senaratne said he nonetheless had no problems with Mahinda Rajapaksa as a person. “Mahinda Rajapaksa is an old friend. My issues with him are policy related”.