By Indika Sri Aravinda
The group led by Sajith Premadasa who contested the 2020 General Elections under the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are still recognised as members of the United National Party (UNP), Commissioner General of the National Elections Commission Saman Sri Ratnayake said.
The UNP Working Committee had suspended the membership of several SJB members and the matter was challenged in court.
Saman Sri Ratnayake told Colombo Gazette that as the court is yet to deliver a final verdict on whether or not the Samagi Jana Balawegaya members had been removed from the UNP, they will continue to be recognised as members of the UNP by the National Elections Commission.
SJB Deputy Secretary-General Diana Gamage said the Election Commission had registered the Samagi Jana Balawegaya as an alliance as opposed to a political party to contest the elections, following which a group of MPs including Sajith Premadasa had obtained membership.
The SJB was initially formed as the Ape Jathika Peramuna and was later changed to Samagi Jana Balawegaya.
General Secretary of the SJB, Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the group of UNP members who left the party have obtained membership from the SJB.
Sajith Premadasa was appointed as the leader of the SJB, while Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Professor Senaka de Silva and Diana Gamage were appointed as the General Secretary, Deputy Leader and Deputy General Secretary respectively.
Gamage said as per the constitution of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, members from any political party can obtain membership from the SJB while holding the existing membership of their party. (Colombo Gazette)