JHU leader Omale Sobitha, who announced the split on Rajapaksa’s birthday, told reporters,
"This (quitting) is not a challenge from an enemy force.”
"This is a birthday gift to the president to correct his ways. This is the advice of a friend given according to the teachings of the Buddha."
The move led to National Freedom Front national organiser Jayantha Samaraweera to call on the JHU to reconsider its decision, stating that western factions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were attempting to “destroy national forces” on the island.
“We request Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and the entire JHU members to reconsider the decision to withdraw from the portfolios in the name of the nation… We request the JHU not to fall prey of the NGOs,” he added.