JVP on warpath with SLFP over ministerial portfolios

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 April 2004, 13:39 GMT]
The General Secretary of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Mr.Tilvin Silva has written to Sri Lanka's President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, to summon the executive committee of the the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), of which the JVP is a major constituent, immediately to sort out all problems that have arisen over the appointment of Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse as Prime Minister and the nonallocation of "vital subjects" for ministries offered to JVP parliamentarians, political sources said.

The JVP's acceptance of ministerial portfolios next week now solely depends on the outcome of the executive committee meeting of the UPFA, party sources said.

"Of the sixty five Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP) parliamentarians in the UPFA, 31 have been appointed cabinet ministers and another 31 have been appointed deputy ministers leaving only three [without any ministries]. These three will share the posts of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Chairman of Sub Committees in the parliament. This is contrary to our agreement on the number of ministers in the UPFA government," said Mr.Tilvin Silva in a hard-hitting letter to Ms.Chandrika Kumaratunge sent Sunday.

The JVP has forty parliamentarians in the UPFA government, Mr. Silva said.

UPFA leadership before the general election agreed to offer four ministries, Agriculture and Land, Cultural Affairs, Rural Economy Development and Industries to JVP parliamentarians with four deputies. After the general election the President offered these ministries to the JVP but removed vital subjects that come under such ministries.

"Agriculture and Land Ministry has been given after removing the subject of Mahaveli Development. Cultural Ministry has been given without Sri Lanka Film Corporation and Censor Board. Rural Economy Development Ministry has been given without rural banks and other financial institutions and likewise Industries Ministry without vital organs," Mr. Silva has elaborated in his letter to the President.

"You agreed earlier in a discussion with us to appoint Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar as Prime Minister. Later you appointed Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse in violation of our agreement. You could have appointed Mr.Anura Bandaranaike or Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena if you wanted a Buddhist for the post of Prime Minister. This has created a dent in our memorandum of understanding," the JVP's General Secretary said in his letter.

However, informed sources in the SLFP said Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge had to face the threat of the General Secretary of the SLFP, Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, that thirty five SLFP parliamentarians in the UPFA would function as an independent group under his leadership if Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse was not appointed as Prime Minister.

 

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