Warns 120 members and 15 PS leaders would resign if he is not re-appointed CM
Says will not settle for anything less than Chief Minister
Claims President keen to handover the CM post to him
By Wickrema Ralapanawa and Ifham Nizam
Former Chief Minister of the North-Central Province (NCP), Berty Premalal Dissanayake, has thrown a monkey wrench into government plans to appoint S.M. Ranjith as the Chief Minister (CM), by warning that 120 members and 15 leaders of Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Anuradhapura District would resign in he is not re-appointed as CM.
Addressing a press conference at his residence, ‘Senasuma,’ in Anuradhapura, yesterday, Dissanayake said the members and the leaders of the Pradeshiya Sabhas had informed him in writing that they would resign if he is not appointed Chief Minister.
The press conference, held to publicise the fact that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the alliance, have not officially declared S.M. Ranjith’s appointment as Chief Minister of the North Central Provincial Council yet, was also used as an opportunity to highlight Ranjith’s shortcomings.
Dissanayake, reiterating that mo official declaration confirming Ranjith’s appointment has been made yet, said, “It is difficult to be Chief Minister without the consent of provincial leaders,” and added that he, Dissanayake, has the consent of 17 members.
He went on to say that the resignation of S.M.S. Chandrasena, does not entitle his brother to the post of Chief Minister. He also claimed he wouldn’t settle for anything less, emphasizing, that if the post of CM is not offered to him, he will not accept the post of minster.
However, he assured that he would not vacate his seat in the North-Central Provincial Council and would remain a councillor and serve his people.
Dissanayake described the lack of an official declaration by any party officials, as an embarrassment for him.
The former Chief Minister also said there are currently two factions in the party, but claimed, “I do not know where all this is going to end.”
The press conference was attended by less than 20 members and only two Pradeshiya Sabah leaders. The leaders, however, declined to comment.
Dissanayake claimed President Mahinda Rajapaksa too was keen in handing over the Chief Minister post to him, as he had been a long time loyalist of the party.
He also said he had discussions with all senior ministers, including Senior Advisor to the President and Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa, over the appointment of Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, S.M. Ranjith, who bagged the highest number of votes and created a major upset in the North-Central Province against the seasoned politician, is slated to be sworn in as the Chief Minister on Monday.
It is learnt that the delay was due to President Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi.
Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister, S.M. Chandrasena, resigned from his post yesterday, to make way for his brother, S.M. Ranjith, to be appointed Chief Minister. S.M. Chandrasena said his resignation came in the wake of the UPFA Executive Committee informing him that two members of the same family are not allowed to hold ministerial posts.