Talks between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa regarding the presidential nomination was commenced at about 9.30 pm on Tuesday (10).
The Prime Minister had only invited Sajith Premadasa for this discussion. Premadasa had been asked by the Prime Minister to attend the meeting alone, while Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne as a coordinator for the discussion had been informed to participate, viewing that Rajitha Senaratne deserves to hold a position amid the events as a great political figure in the United National Front and the new Alliance, sources said.
However, Sajith Premadasa's rebel leader Malik Samarawickrema, Kabir Hashim and Ranjith Madduma Bandara were also present in the meeting uninvited. Upon response to Wickremesinghe's question as to why they were called on the meeting, Premadasa said that he had not informed them neither is he aware of their presence, according to sources.
According to Premadasa, the two had arrived unnoticed.
Pre-meeting in the Finance Ministry
Noneheless, Ranil Wickremesinghe's intelligence sources had informed him that the Faction had a discussion with Mangala Samaraweera at the Finance Ministry prior to their arrival, sources further claimed.
"Hey, you've come from the Finance Ministry haven't you? After your chitchats with Mangala, Eran, Harsha and the rest?" the Prime Minister questioned.
Panicked, Sajith Premadasa said, "No sir, I haven't been there. I was with the President the whole day."
Premadasa had gone to the President's official residence in Paget Road at around 9.00 am on Tuesday and had accompanied the President to the land deeds program for Buddhist temples.
Sajith Premadasa had arrived in the Temple Trees after spending a full-day with the President, with his blessings for nominations, and an early meeting he along with the Faction had in the Finance Ministry, sources further said.
The meeting with the Prime Minister was commenced without involving Malik, Kabir and Ranjith.
Accordingly, the talks were carried out between Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa and Rajitha Senaratne.
Seek TNA's support first
Confident with the sources, the Prime Minister, who had raised the importance of winning minorities' votes, stressed that they may not be able to win without the support of the TNA given the devolution of votes between the two camps regardless of the candidate.
Wickremesinghe had also stressed to meet with MP Sampanthan who will be visiting Colombo on Wednesday to earn his support to win the party despite the nominations.
Next meeting based on survey reports
"Talk to the TNA first. Then we will have a meeting of party leaders of the UNF immediately. I nominate Rajitha to continue coordinating the work for me," Wickremesinghe reportedly said to Premadasa.
The Prime Minister had also promised Sajith Premadasa to submit all the survey reports made in regard to the Presidential Election on the 11th and agreed to conduct the following discussions on the basis of the reports.
Accordingly, the bilateral meeting between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa was ended without any hassle and with having Rajitha Senaratne agreed to coordinate in future meetings, according to sources.
Sajith is a good man, Ranil says
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after the meeting told his close friends who were at the Temple Trees that Sajith Premadasa was being used by many parties, but is a good person, sources further claimed.