By Norman Palihawadane
Several more heads are likely to roll in the SJB list of MPs who opted to side with the government following last week’s expulsion from the party of its Colombo District MP, AHM Fowzie, political sources said on Friday.
Fowzie’s expulsion letter was signed on Wednesday night at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo. This followed his voting with the government for the IMF/EFF loan facility while the SJB had decided to abstain.
The expulsion endangers Fowzies recently acquired parliamentary seat but he has legal recourse. Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, Harin Fernando and State Minister Diana Gamage have also defected from the SJB to the government.
The disciplinary committee comprised of Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa, Gampaha District MP and Party Chairman Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella.
“There are few others to be axed soon for not toeing the party line. Maintaining discipline in the party is very important,” a senior party member said.
Party sources said that Fowzie was among SJB MPs who had expressed their willingness to defect to the government. He was unhappy that three of his supporters failed to get on the SJB candidate list for the now aborted Colombo Municipal election. The party’s mayoral candidate, Mujibur Rahman, whose resignation from Parliament enabled Fowzie to fill the vacancy, did not accommodate Fowzie’s nominees.
Fowzie said on Friday that he had been personally thanked by President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his bold stance voting in accordance with his conscience on the recent IMF motion in Parliament. The country is in dire straits we need to join hands regardless of our political colours, he said.
Mujubur Rahuman told The Sunday Island that Fowzie had a history of switching parties and it was easy to predict that he would always cross over to the side in power.
“We welcome the party’s decision to remove him,” Rahuman said.