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* Sri Lanka opposition's SLFP (M) Wing in crisis
Fri, Mar 5, 2010, 01:54 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 05, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) Wing led by former Matara District parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera is in crisis with most of the members resigning from the party and rejoining the SLFP.

The crisis commenced when Samaraweera decided to contest the forthcoming general election with the UNF under the 'elephant' symbol. SLFP (M) Wing members are to contest the general election from seven districts under the 'elephant' symbol.

Reportedly, the first to split from the party was SLFP (M) Wing's National Coordinator, Tiran Alles. He has decided to join the newly formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by General Sarath Fonseka.

Alles claimed that it was not proper to contest under the 'elephant' symbol and break the broad opposition alliance when the General was in custody. His name has been included in the DNA national list.

On Tuesday (2), Dilrukshi Sooriyarachchi, the wife of former SLFP (M) Wing Deputy Leader, late Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, resigned from the party blaming Samaraweera for destroying her husband's political career.

Issuing a statement she accused Samaraweera of being concerned only about getting re-elected to the parliament and being engaged in opportunistic politics. Soon after resigning from the SLFP (M) Wing, Dilrukshi joined the UNP. However, she finally joined the SLFP after meeting the President yesterday (4).

Another group of over 30 SLFP (M) Wing members joined the SLFP yesterday (4) protesting against Samaraweera's decision to contest the general election under the UNP's 'elephant' symbol.

The group led by SLFP (M) Wing Administrative Secretary, Dr. Sisil Bandara Senaratne includes central committee members, district organizers and several front liners in the party. The group joined the SLFP after meeting the President.

According to Senaratne, the SLFP (M) Wing members could not endorse the decision to contest the election under the 'elephant' symbol when the party was initially formed as an alternative to the SLFP and as an outlet to the disgruntled SLFPers. Senaratne told the media that people joined the SLFP (M) Wing with a view to forming a proper path for the SLFPers, which has now changed.

Samaraweera and Sooriyarachchi formed the SLFP (M) Wing after defecting from the government in 2007.

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