Gota becoming presidential candidate a mere dream: Duminda

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The Rajapaksas have ruled the country more than enough and therefore the electorate must choose a leader not related to the Rajapaksa family for the upcoming Presidential poll and at the Parliamentary election that would follow, Propaganda Secretary of the SLFP, Former Minister Duminda Dissanayaka said yesterday.

He added that the time is ripe for other leaders and aspiring and energetic youth of the SLFP and the SLPP to come forward to replace the Rajapaksas.

“There is no doubt that the Rajapaksas have done much for the country that culminated with playing a major role to end the separatist war. But that does not mean they have an inherent right to dominate the political power in this country forever. Now is the right time to make a change to this subservient attitude among voters,” Mr. Dissanayaka stressed.

Mr. Dissanayaka, commenting on remarks made by SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara that all Rajapaksas will be in the cabinet if they came to power at the upcoming polls, said it was true that when Jayasekara became Chief Minister of the North-Western Province in October 2013, Mahinda, Basil, Chamal, Namal, Nirupama and Shashendra were in power and Gotabhaya was the all powerful Defence Secretary.

“Does the SLPP have a second tier leadership? What will happen to the party if and when the domination of Rajapaksas comes to an end?” Mr. Dissanayaka asked.“But all of them were rejected at the Presidential election in January 2015. Therefore, bringing them back to power is not the answer,” Mr. Dissanayaka stressed.

Responding to a question asked by a journalist at yesterday’s UPFA news briefing at the SLFP office as to whether Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would be the party’s Presidential candidate, Mr. Dissanayaka retorted back and said the prospect of him contesting is a distant dream.

“I don’t think the US State Department will let him renounce his US citizenship. If the US government has no issue with it he would have been given that opportunity by now. If he is now officially a Sri Lankan citizen and has renounced his US citizenship as they claim, all he has to do is to show the letter that permitted him to renounce his US citizenship to the public. It is as simple as that. But he is still to do it. Besides, why do you keep asking this question all the time? It is not good for him because he is recuperating after heart surgery,” Mr. Dissanayaka said.

Replying to another journalist, said Mr. Jayasekara was making all these statements for the good of the party.

Mr. Dissanayaka pointed out that Incumbent President and SLFP Leader Maithripala Sirisena was the choice of all SLFPers as the party’s Presidential candidate and he did not see why this stance has to be changed. But it is hoped that he would also get the backing of the SLPP so that he would then be the candidate of a SLPP – SLFP alliance, assuring him of victory.