Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced he will topple the government before the “next poya day,” but the controversial bid to reunite their splintered Sri Lanka Freedom Party has led to more fissures.
Speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting with his loyalists at the home of Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) chief G. L. Peiris, Rajapaksa said their credibility was being questioned after failing to topple the government despite issuing deadline after deadline.
“Every time we say we will bring the government down by this poya (full moon), next poya… you also keep asking me when we will do it. At least by next poya we must show results,” he said.
Peiris told reporters that Sri Lanka Freedom Party MPs who support Rajapaksa will take membership of the SLPP shortly despite the ant-defection law that will automatically unseat them if they quit the SLFP.
Rajapaksa’s legislator son Namal said he was waiting for the “auspicious time” to join the SLPP by giving up membership of the SLFP which he said had failed the people and was deteriorating daily.
However, others who were at the meeting said there was opposition to rejoining Sirisena at a time when he was seen as increasingly unpopular across the country.
Rajapaksa’s legislator brother Chamal had opposed any truck with Sirisena as would be a prop for the president whose public support was waning according to his estimates.
At least one more members from the Kalutara district opposed the idea of going back to Sirisena’s fold and said he would continue to occupy an opposition bench. He also pointed out that the SLPP did not have the numbers in parliament to dislodge Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
However, he said another section of the SLPP was keen to attempt a caretaker government because they felt it was the only way they could overcome the court cases they were currently facing.