Minister Rajitha Senaratne said today there were several requests to accept the prime ministerial post after the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was tabled in Parliament, but had refused to stab his leader in the back for the sake of high positions.
He said even LSSP leaders spoke to him secretly on this matter but refused to be enticed because he was used to obtaining positions up front and not through the back door.
At a ceremony held, at the Aluthgama Town Hall grounds, to distribute essential commodities to low-income families for the National New Year, the minister revealed that even Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had suggested that he be the common opposition candidate when the discussions were being held in 2014 to topple the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, but he had rejected it.
“I explained to Mr. Wickremesinghe that it was best for then minister, Maithripala Sirisena to come forward as the common candidate and introduced him as our nominee for the presidential poll. The no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister was the handiwork of those who worked against Mr. Sirisena at the 2015 presidential election and had no say nor shared in the January 2015 victory. I played an independent role and as a result, I am being applauded by many,” he said.
The minister said the government was in disarray after the February 10 LG polls.
“Our main responsibility is to fulfill the pledges given to the people in 2015. President Maithripala Sirisena accepted the leadership of the SLFP and formed a unity government after the August 2015 general elections. If he had declared a parliamentary election soon after the presidential election in 2015, the UNP would have without doubt recorded a major victory,” he said. “Soon after the SLFP was defeated, Basil went to the US. Former president was in Tangalle. We set up a yahapalana government with the two main political parties to bring prosperity to the country. We would have won the LG polls if we contested the poll as one unit. I told this to the president. However, we won the LG polls on the number of votes but lost on the number of wards.”