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Lanka dissident group breaks up

The 3-man group in ruling SLFP split when sacked minister Bandaranaike recanted, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2007 23:05 IST

The three-man dissident group in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) broke up on Wednesday, when the sacked National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike recanted, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa accepted him back in his fold.

Bandaranaike met Rajapaksa on the latter's return from the Maldives, and the two decided to bury the hatchet in the interest of the SLFP, which their fathers had founded way back in the 1950s.

Bandaranaike is likely to be given back his portfolio in a day or two, sources in the Presidential Secretariat told Hindustan Times.

Other sources said that in addition, he could be made Presidential Advisor on foreign affairs, and assigned the task of being a roving Ambassador, a job close to his heart.

This leaves the dissident group with only two persons – former Ports and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and former non-cabinet minister for Ports Development, Sripathi Sooriyarachchi.

Though isolated, both are unlikely to recant, at least for the time being. However some people are still making efforts to get Samaraweera back given the support he enjoys from the Durawa caste and a section of the Buddhist monks belonging to that caste.

First Published: Feb 14, 2007 23:05 IST