now backing Cooray: Whither WPC?
By Santhush Fernando
A series of political developments rest on the future of Reginold
Cooray, until last week Chief Minister of the Western Province.
resigned in the wake of a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition
UNP in the Council. With the collapse of the UPFA, the SLFP members
were not sufficient to sustain him in office. Hence he quit.
the wake of moves by the council’s opposition leader Kithsiri
Kahatapitiya, the JVP moved to prevent the UNP from taking control
of the council. This was on a request by Minister Mangala Samaraweera
to JVP's General Secretary Tilvin Silva and Parliamentary Group
leader Wimal Weerawansa. The JVP politburo met and decided it would
support SLFP's Nandana Mendis. He was sworn in as chief minister.
The decision came after the politburo was told that Mr. Samaraweera
had made the request on his own and not on behalf of any other leading
personality of the UPFA.
the UNP group which said it had no confidence in Mr. Cooray is willing
to allow him to return as chief minister. In a move to sideline
the JVP these members have said they would altogether forget the
allegations made against Mr. Cooray in the no-confidence motion.
If the move succeeds, Mr. Cooray will return to his original post.
If it does not, he would have to keep to a previously planned arrangement
-- a return to Parliament.
will be called upon to resign so he can be brought in on the national
list? Government sources say President Kumaratunga is now not in
favour of calling upon either Wijedasa Rajapakse or Mervyn Silva
to resign to make way for Mr. Cooray.
sources said they may call upon Dr Viswa Warnapala, now the Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs and currently Acting Minister to resign.
Dr. Warnapala is at the centre of a heated controversy after utterances
he made during the official visit to Sri Lanka of Indian External
Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh.
Warnapala who had received Mr. Singh at the Bandaranaike International
Airport had later accompanied him in the same car to Colombo.
During the journey he is reported to have altogether ignored protocol
and made very critical remarks about the Joint Mechanism or P-TOMS.
much so, an embarrassed Mr. Singh was later to ask Foreign Minister
Lakshman Kadirgamar as to who Dr. Warnapala was and how he came
to be a deputy minister.The same sources said Mr. Kadirgamar had
also brought this reportedly unbecoming conduct by Mr. Warnapala
to President Kumaratunga’s notice. During a light hearted
moment, a VVIP is said to have told Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapakse,
that "you have a good friend" who crticised those from
"Radala Walawwas" (feudal residences).
the JVP, though threatening to withdraw support from the UPFA administration
of seven provincial councils if the P-TOMS agreement was signed,
has decided on a compromise, party sources said yesterday.
said withdrawal of JVP support might bring down the administration
in all PCs and thus enable the UNP to take control. Thus the politburo
decided on another course of action which would prevent the UNP
from taking control.
Central Provincial Council (NCPC) JVP Group Leader Sarath Indrananda
said his party would not allow the UPFA administration to fall and
the UNP to take control. Similar views were expressed by JVP group
leaders in other provincial councils. But the specifics of the compromise
were not clear.