The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) forewarned that if necessary, they would bring people onto the streets in a bid to defeat the proposed constitutional amendments which they deemed would result in the division of the country into a federal State.

The SLPP claims that 95% of the membership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was with former President and incumbent MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and says that it had received applications for membership in excess of one million.

The SLPP is set to begin another membership drive by the end of the month and would by the end of February or the first half of March hold the party’s first convention.

According to the party, candidates who would receive nominations to contest at the forthcoming Local Government election would all be elected by the branch memberships (branches on the ward basis in electorates).

General Secretary of the SLPP, Attorney-at-Law Sagara Kariyawasam said that the proposal made by the SLFP for the SLPP and political parties of the Joint Opposition to join the SLFP to contest the upcoming local election to defeat the United National Party (UNP) was not an honest one which had been made with ulterior motives. He said as a Party they were not in a position to accept it.

“From information we gather at the Pradeshiya Sabha level and village level, the SLFP will be pushed to the fourth place at the election”, he claimed while adding that this was why the SLFP was attempting to get the name and power of Rajapaksa to their campaign efforts.

According to Kariyawasam it was not the people of the country who had requested the constitutional amendments but external powers and non-governmental organizations. The SLPP is presently conducting seminars and awareness programmes island-wide regarding the matter. The party is also planning to rally other forces such as professionals including lawyers and doctors to raise a voice concerning the Constitution.

“Based on what the Chairman of the SLFP, Maithripala Sirisena did at the last Presidential election, where he stated that he was the cause of the defeat of the SLFP and at and the General Election, he stated that even if Rajapaksa won, he would not be made Prime Minister. We are not in a position to trust him. Recently too, when UNP MPs met him, he categorically stated that he had and would have no dealings whatsoever with the Rajapaksas.

“Sirisena is the most unreliable leader. He never keeps his word and has allegations of bribery being levelled against him from Australia too. We cannot place trust and confidence in him. The only condition for such an agreement with him is if he steps down from his Presidency and hands over the SLFP reigns to Rajapaksa. We are confident that the next Government will be one which we form and the next President will be from our Party,” said Kariyawasam.