Welgama made the suggestion after a meeting the JO leaders had with Gotabhaya recently, where it was stressed that they could not go on in this journey by retaining Mahinda as their leader.
JO sources say that Mahinda had become very angry at the suggestion, severely reprimanded Welgama and expelled him.
‘People want me’ - Mahinda
He has insisted that JO leaders should understand the reality that people want him, not Gotabhaya or Chamal.
Later, Vidura Wickremanayake met Mahinda and made the same proposal, but he too, was given the same response, in addition to the warning that no such proposals should be made to him in the future.
He said Gotabhaya could not understand the politics and was entangled in the trap set by the incumbent president.
It’s not Mahinda’s problem if UNP wins in 2020
Wickremanayake noted that Mahinda’s attempts to form a new party would enable the UNP to win the 2020 elections easily.
Mahinda responded by saying that that was not his problem.
Thereafter, JO leaders held a discussion and stressed that they should go for a strong decision, as if they agreed with Mahinda, they too, would be contributing to the UNP’s 2020 win and for a division of the SLFP.