Dayan Responds To Allegations Of Switching Allegiance: Sajith's Former Advisor Denies "Official Involvement" With SJB

Dayan Jayatilleka, a former Senior Adviser on International Affairs to the Leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), has distanced himself from the party in response to backlash over his address at the Freedom People's Congress (FPC).

In a response to Asian Mirror, Jayatilleka denied being an SJB theorist, claiming the idea was absurd as he was not and has never been a member of the party. However, Jayatilleka was appointed as Senior Adviser on International Affairs to the Leader of the SJB, Sajith Premadasa, two years ago, and the appointment received wide publicity in the media.

Jayatilleka also denied being a member of any political party since his time as a Politbureau member and (elected) Assistant Secretary of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) in 1988-1990, claiming he was half his current age at the time. He then went on to describe himself as an unaffiliated political writer and analyst who sympathizes with the SJB as a party, but also with other parties.

Jayatilleka claimed his support for Sajith Premadasa as the next President goes back to at least April 2010 when he wrote an article entitled the "Sajith Solution" for The Sunday Leader. He also defended Premadasa and his spouse publicly from attacks in the English language press when no one else came forward to do so.

Jayatilleka further stated that his support for Sajith is contingent on their potential as the agency of the renewed implementation of President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s policies on development and national independence and sovereignty. He also claimed that his support for Sajith includes a critique of ideas that would ruin his candidacy and wreck his presidential chances.

Jayatilleka's speech as a guest speaker at the FPC May Day platform has sparked controversy, with critics claiming that his address ruffled feathers in the SJB. However, Jayatilleka clarified that he did not participate in the demonstration that preceded his speech and that listening to the video of his complete address would clarify what he said, which included a reiteration that President Premadasa's economic policy paradigm is still the way out of the crisis for Sri Lanka.

The controversy, however, has further highlighted the issues within the SJB and raised questions about the party's direction going forward.