SLFP-JVP close to resolving Mahaveli Ministry row
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 April 2004, 07:50 GMT]
Senior leaders of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance Wednesday expressed optimism that the three week old quarrel between the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) regarding the allocation of Mahaweli Development ministry to the JVP minister designate for Agriculture is likely to be resolved this evening, political sources said.
The JVP has agreed to accept the Deputy Minister for Mahaveli Development Ministry if the President takes over the Mahaveli Ministry under her direct control. Earlier the President appointed the General Secretary of the SLFP and the Polonnaruwa parliamentarian Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena as the Minister for Mahaveli Development.
According to the agreement reached after hectic discussion Wednesday morning, Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge will be the Mahaveli Development Minister and a JVP parliamentarian nominated by the JVP will be her Deputy Minister for Mahaveli Development, ruling party sources said.
Consequent to the agreement the four JVP parliamentarians designated as Ministers by their party high command are expected to be sworn in Wednesday evening before President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge. Another batch of four JVP MPs would also be sworn in, as deputy ministers and one of them will Deputy Minister for Mahaveli Development.
Meanwhile the first parliamentary group meeting of the UPFA is to begin Wednesday evening around 4.30.p.m. at the President House with Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in the chair, ruling party sources said.
At this meeting the Prime Minister Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse will be elected as the leader of the House, Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera will be the government chief whip. Candidates for the posts of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Chairman of Committees would also be nominated at this meeting, party sources said
In the meantime the Patriotic National Movement (PNM) leader Venerable Ellawella Meththananda Thera Tuesday held talks with the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge to bring a settlement in the dispute between the leaders of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), both are main constituents of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance in sharing ministerial posts, political sources said.