Several senior SLFP ministers have expressed their opposition to the move by the President to appoint Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Prime Minister at the next Cabinet reshuffle, a senior official from the SLFP headquarters said.
Several ministers have told People’s Bank Chairman Karunajeewa, who is a close confidante of the President, that there would be serious consequences if the Defence Secretary is appointed as Prime Minister ignoring the seniority list in the SLFP.
The ministers have said that there was no issue in appointing Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as Prime Minister considering his seniority in the party. However, they have said that the internal conflict in the party would reach bursting point if a new comer to the party is appointed as Prime Minister ignoring the seniors.
Meanwhile, Minister Basil Rajapaksa has telephoned Minister Mervyn Silva and asked him not to withdraw from the post of Kelaniya organizer under any circumstance. Basil has issued the directive after explaining to Mervyn that Gotabhaya could be appointed as the Kelaniya organizer.
However, when a senior journalist in a national newspaper had asked Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa if he had any plans on entering active politics, he had said there was no plan to enter politics. The Defence Secretary had said that he had turned down many requests made by the President for him to enter politics.
The Defence Secretary has added that he was being attacked in websites and some newspapers and that Ravaya newspaper Editor Victor Ivan had even written an editorial attacking him.
He has noted that although he had no intention of entering politics, he was happy with the development work carried out by the Urban Development Authority.
The official from the SLFP headquarters who gave us this information said that the Cabinet reshuffle planned for November would be postponed if the Defence Secretary does not enter politics.