A factional feud has cropped up after Basil Rajapaksa was accorded a rousing welcome at the May Day rally and an image of Basil Rajapaksa with Mahinda Rajapaksa was displayed on the main banner of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Citing a Daily Mirror news report, many have questioned the reason for promoting Basil Rajapaksa to a parallel position to that of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Party stalwarts of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna who are loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa have strongly questioned the party’s General Secretary, Sagara Kariyawasam, on the basis that they were trying to elevate Basil to the level of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Daily Mirror states that the party stalwarts have castigated Sagara Kariyawasam, alleging that the image of the party would be damaged if this were to happen.
A number of senior parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have raised strong objections in this regard and expressed their dismay over the move by the Secretary-General.
Earlier, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna banner displayed the image of former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa together with Mahinda Rajapaksa, but Gotabhaya’s image was removed after he resigned from the presidency last year. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa did not participate in the May Day rally this time either.
In the last few weeks, it has been revealed that several members of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have launched a program to appoint Basil Rajapaksa as the next leader of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.
It is also reported that he is hoping that he will be able to enter politics again after amending the dual citizenship clause that prevents dual citizens from contesting the upcoming elections.
However, a group of pro-Mahinda senior MPs of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, who are against such a move, have alleged that the promotion of Basil Rajapaksa as party leader by Basil supporters will only bring the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna into disrepute.
Due to Basil’s intervention in party affairs, some MPs of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have already left the party, and if there is a change in leadership, the party is likely to split.
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