North Central Governor P. B. Dissanayake yesterday declined a request by a group of provincial Councillors loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to replace Chief Minister of the North Central Province S.M. Peshala Jayaratne Bandara with S.M. Ranjith.
Of the 22 member UPFA group, 17 have backed the rebel move.
The UPFA-run NCP comprises 33 members.
The rebels made their move in the wake of Ranjith quitting his ministerial post in protest against President Maithripala Sirisena dismissing provincial minister K. H. Nandasena. President Sirisena named Herath Banda as Nandasena’s successor.
SLFP rebel sources told The Island that Governor Dissanayake told those who met him yesterday to hand over affidavits that he had received a directive not to accept them.
Joint Opposition sources pointed out that President Sirisena had acted swiftly to replace Uva Chief Minister Shashendra Rajapaksa with Harin Fernando on a request made by a group of councillors.
The JO vowed to press ahead with its campaign at the NCPC until the SLFP leadership accepted ground reality. Sources said that Peshala Jayaratne couldn’t continue as the CM against the wishes of those elected along with him.