2ND LEAD

Weerawansa suspended from JVP politburo

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 April 2008, 14:40 GMT]
Wimal Weerawansa, the propaganda secretary of the extreme Sinhala nationalist Jantha Wimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was suspended from the politburo of the JVP. The decision was made at a JVP politburo meeting, chaired by party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe. It is widely suspected that stand related to India, the question of disarming a paramilitary group and how to work with the ruling UPFA government, were reasons for the rift between two factions within the JVP.

"Weerawansa failed to toe party's policy line," a close associate of Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, told media persons in Colombo Friday.

The dispute is mainly due to the differences of opinion, between two factions within the JVP, on how to cooperate with the Rajapaksa government. One faction is headed by Wimal Weerawansa, and the other by Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Tilvin Silva, the General Secretary of the JVP.

According to informed circles, the group headed by Dissanayake and Tilvin Silva, could be described, in a way, as more Marxist than the Weerawansa faction, which maintained a close link with the Rajapaksa government.

Weerawansa favoured a policy line, like Nandana Gunatillake, a rebel JVP parliamentarian who has been supporting the UPFA government after the party hierarchy removed him from the JVP politburo in early 2007, also due to 'policy differences.'

A few days ago, Nandana Gunatillake started writing in Sinhala Daily Divayina about the internal rift inside the JVP, where he displayed a soft-line towards Weerawansa, while criticizing the other faction for toeing an extreme nationalist agenda. The nationalist agenda should be a tactical one and not dominate the strategy of the party internally, he argued. The extreme faction that dominates the JVP argues against loosing the mass support base if JVP chooses to be a part of the UPFA government.

Weerawansa has been arguing that JVP should extend active support to UPFA government, being part of it as Rajapaksa government is actively waging the war, while the extreme faction wants to be independent and extend support to the UPFA from outside, on crucial matters.

The rift became public 9-days ago when Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the General Secretary of the extremist Patriotic National Movement (PNM), convened a press conference a week after JVP's press conference in which JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe opined that the government should disarm the Plllayan Group, as it claimed the East has been liberated. Weerawansa, while addressing the PNM gathering, accused that there were "forces seeking to disarm Pillayan Group," and one had to be "cautious of the motive of these forces," as the LTTE was still capable of carrying out attacks in the East.


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