SLFP should be main coalition partner in Govt - Johnston Fernando | Sunday Observer
“Extend cooperation to President”

SLFP should be main coalition partner in Govt - Johnston Fernando

3 January, 2021

Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said that it would be more appropriate for the SLFP to further continue its role as the main coalition partner of the Government and extend its cooperation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has shown his utmost commitment to work for the well-being of the people.

The people have not forgotten the destruction the UNP led Yahapalana Government had caused to the country where the SLFP was also one of its coalition partners. The Treasury bond scam also took place after the SLFP joined hands with Ranil Wickremesinghe and formed the Yahapalana Government, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Commenting on statements by some SLFP stalwarts that they are given step-motherly treatment by the SLPP and added that they might perhaps consider leaving the Government, Minister Fernando said sometimes, the SLFPers in the Government may think like that but we have given powerful Cabinet and State ministerial portfolios to the SLFP. All these positions have been given based on the consensus reached between the SLPP and the SLFP.

Three party seniors, SLFP General Secretary and State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and SLFP Senior Vice President Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had however, told the SLFP Central Committee meeting at the Party Headquarters on December 30 that the SLFP will not be hasty in attempting to ditch the Government. Jayasekara had said that the SLFP has already sought a meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to discuss their grievances.

Minister Fernando said that except the SLFP, no constituent party in the Government had said that they are sidelined or given step-motherly treatment. When we were in the Opposition, all other constituent parties except the SLFP stood firmly with us and extended its fullest support to play our legitimate role in Parliament as a vibrant Opposition.

The Minister said the SLFP is yet another coalition partner of the Government. They have the right to express any view they wish and there is no issue about it. However, the SLFP resorting to making such statements would pave the way to further erode its vote base.

However, most people don’t subscribe to this SLFP view. People have fully endorsed the initiatives taken by the President to rebuild the country and economy ruined by the Yahapalana Government. The people have recognised the President as a true leader who fulfils his duty to the letter on behalf of the people, he said.

“As a veteran political leader, people have also reposed much confidence in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his effective contribution to turn the President’s National Policy Framework Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour into a success,” the Minister said.

He said prior to the parliamentary election, it was the SLFP which said that the SLPP would not be able to secure victory at the election. However, the people gave a resounding mandate of a two-thirds majority to the SLPP at the election.

SLFP Leader and former President Maithripala Sirisena had told the foreign media that his party is ready to contest the upcoming Provincial Council elections alone if the SLPP doesn’t give it a fair share of the candidates.

He had said that the SLFP was treated unfairly when candidates were selected for the August 2020 parliamentary election. He said that while the SLFP looks forward to contesting the upcoming PC elections with the SLPP, it is also ready to go alone “if there is no fair treatment. Our party will decide on a solo journey. We are ready for both options.”