Rajpaksa's portrait use by SLFP leads to tussle with rival faction

Colombo
24 Dec 2017

The use of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's portrait by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has led to a tussle with its rival faction which is claiming that the picture of a member of another party cannot be used for campaigning. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) reportedly used the portrait of Rajapaksa for campaigning for the upcoming council elections. A senior minister representing the government from the SLFP said it is be illegal to use the image of Rajapaksa for campaigning as he is a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and not the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). "They can't use the image of a member of another party for campaigning," the senior minister said. The Rajapaksa loyalists who are in the SLPP remain careful not to identify themselves officially with the SLPP as they run the risk of being removed by the SLFP for breach of party discipline by promoting interests of another party. Both factions, however, say that their common enemy is the United National Party (UNP) of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The party was split with Rajapaksa loyalists who call themselves the Joint Opposition forming a new party SLPP. The SLFP's mainstream is currently led by President Maithripala Sirisena. The two factions went separate ways after the failure of the unification talks in order to face the February 10 election for 341 local councils. Both factions accuse each other of trying illegally to use the image of Rajapaksa, the man who ended the war with the LTTE. "We object to the use of the former President's image by the SLFP," Ranjith Soysa, a Rajapaksa loyalist legislator said. The two factions would go into coalition arrangements after the elections to gain control of the councils. (PTI)