I SHUN RAJAPAKSA’S family bandysm - welgama

Kalutara district MP Kumara Welgama said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should not talk about fielding a member of his own family as the next Presidential hopeful.

He said family bandyism is not suitable for the country and former President Rajapaksa faced defeat at the last presidential election due to this family centred rule.

Welgama, a close ally of the former President and a cabinet minister of his government, said many ministers were disheartened as the former President placed his family above everything.

“Our family belongs to everyone. One family cannot claim ownership to presidential candidacy”, he said.

In an interview with the Hindu on Wednesday, Rajapaksa had hinted that a member of his family would contest the Presidential election in 2020.

He added that there were many seniors in the party outside the family circle of the former President who were suitable to run for presidency.

“We have to understand that J.R Jayewardene did not willingly give presidential candidacy to his successor, Ranasinghe Premadasa. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga did not willingly nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Presidential candidate,” Welgama said, indicating that the Joint Opposition would not be hesitant to take a strong stand if Rajapaksa attempted to keep Presidential candidacy within his own family. “We should not forget that Maithripala Sirisena left our government and contested against us because he was not given the rightful place within the administration,” he said.

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