The bigwigs of the Opposition, Samagi Jalna Balawegaya (SJB) will convene shortly to deliberate on whether disciplinary measures should be taken against eight party members who defied party directives to walk out of the Chamber during President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Policy Statement in Parliament, SJB sources told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
Despite the SJB’s decision to stage a walkout, these members chose to remain in the Chamber, prompting concerns from the party’s Working Committee about the perceived lax behaviour within its ranks, sources said.
SJB Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara Jayamaha yesterday said that the SJB’s working committee had expressed concern about the relatively loose behaviour of certain party members in some instances such as these.
The list of MPs who stayed on in the Chamber during President Wickremesinghe’s speech included Sarath Fonseka, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Kumara Welgama, Ishak Rahuman, Vadivel Suresh, Faizal Cassim and A.H.M. Fowzie.
Jayamaha was responding to the Sunday Observer’s inquiry as to why these MPs remained in the Chamber while the SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and other SJB members had left it during the President’s address.
When asked if the Opposition has a greater leaning towards safeguarding the democracy of members within the party than its internal unity, Jayamaha said that the SJB leadership would soon address these concerns.
He said that the upcoming meeting aims to ensure that the party’s internal cohesion is reflected in highly disciplined behaviour.
Referring to their member, Field Martial Sarath Fonseka’s meeting President Wickremesinghe after the tea party in Parliament at the President’s office, which sparked speculation about the SJB’s consensual mode within the party, he said that the SJB leadership would soon address these concerns after assessing their impact on the internal unity of the party.
Our attempts to contact Field Martial Sarath Foseka were unsuccessful at the time this edition went to the press.