‘Group of 16’ tag-line no more: WDJ

Former United Freedom Peoples Alliance (UPFA) Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne, who defected the government along with 15 other UPFA members, yesterday said they should no longer be addressed as the 'group of 16’ because they have decided to work together with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

The MP expressed this view after meeting SLPP party leaders
including its Chairman G. L. Peiris and National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa at party Head office in Battaramulla.

Speaking to journalists after the talks, MP Seneviratne said, “We shouldn’t be called the ‘group of 16’ any more. We decided to work together as one group to change the government. We have always been in the opposition since the day we left the government. There was no in between,”

He said the discussions were cordial and helped diminish any ambiguousness and discrepancies among the two factions. When asked whether they would take the membership of the SLPP, the MP said there was no such need.

Meanwhile, MP Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said they were invited by the SLPP to attend the next group meeting of the Joint Opposition (JO) which would be held early next week.

“We accepted the invitation and we will attend the JO group meeting to be held under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership at his residence in Colombo,” he said.

He assured that they would work together with the JO as one anti-government group. “With the support of other parties, we will work together on one stage to face upcoming elections,” he said.

MPs Thilanga Sumathipala, Dayasiri Jayasekara and S. B. Dissanayake who are overseas and MP Dilan Perera were among the absentees. (Lahiru Pothmulla)