By Thameenah Razeek
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Kurunegala District MP Shantha Bandara was removed from all SLFP positions after being sworn in as State Minister for Promoting Organic Fertiliser Production and Regulation on 11 April.
He was stripped of his positions as the SLFP’s Propaganda Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Dambadeniya Electoral Organiser.
Bandara accepted a State Ministerial portfolio despite the SLFP parliamentary group’s departure from the ruling party and decision to sit in Parliament independently.
Former State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, speaking at the SLFP’s Special District Representative Conference, said the decision was made in accordance with the powers vested in Maithripala Sirisena as the party’s chairman, and that steps would be taken in the future to expel Bandara from the Central Committee and the party.
Bandara was sworn in to fill the vacancy left behind when Shashindra Rajapaksa resigned from the portfolio.
Bandara, on the other hand, stated that he accepted the position at the President’s request and he is one of 41 MPs who have recently decided to act independently.
Meanwhile, Senior Vice Chairman of the SLFP Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa said that by taking oaths as a State Minister, Bandara has betrayed the policies of the party. Bandara was sworn in as the State Minister of Promoting the Production and Regulating the Supply of Organic Fertiliser, and Paddy and Grains, Organic Foods, Vegetables, Fruits, Chilies, Onion and Potato Cultivation Promotion, Seed Production and Advanced Technology Agriculture.
Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath was also present during the swearing-in ceremony. Meanwhile, the President has declined to accept the resignation letter of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification State Minister Piyankara Jayaratne. Accordingly, Jayaratne will continue to function as a State Minister.