Taking the centre stage of politics by storm, twenty SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition on Friday night agreed to quit the party to join the new political party that would emerge shortly, well informed political sources disclosed to the Nation.
The meeting was held at the residence of an SLFP strongman located in the near precincts of the Parliament in Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte.
The name of the new party which would carry the part-‘Sri Lanka’ in front is yet under discussion with several names being proposed, sources said.
The chief organizer of the new political party would be a sibling of a SLFP strongman is now backing the Joint Opposition in Parliament.
According to these sources over ten SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition have stated they would remain in the party and form an independent group in parliament.
These MPs have pointed out that as longstanding SLFPers who have served their electorates and districts they cannot betray the party and the people who elected them to parliament.
The Joint Opposition group held several rounds of talks at various venues which were initially presided over by a sibling of an SLFP strongman, tipped to lead the new party.
Asked whether the new party would surface before the next local government elections, a spokesman for the Joint Opposition said, “We are not only looking at elections. We are more concerned about the future of the country as the present government is giving too much into international pressure mounted by the West”.
He said the Joint Opposition group in favour of setting up a new political party had the majority support at grassroots level from the SLFP as ninety per cent of present councilors supported it.
When asked about the fate of the committee chaired by Minister S.B. Dissanayake to work out a plan to unite the two factions, the spokesman scoffed, ‘What can SB do? He is trying to use Mahinda’s popularity to gain political advantage only to topple Ranil’s government and achieve his hidden dream to be a prime minister’.