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PA row over SLFP-JVP deal
By Harinda Vidanage
The memorandum of understanding worked out by the SLFP and the JVP has set off a row at a meeting of the People's Alliance special committee. PA partners, the LSSP and the CP, are known to have serious reservations about the deal and some of them challenged the decision to maintain silence on the crucial though controversial issue of the devolution of power as a solution to the ethnic conflict.

SLFP and JVP leaders with the support of President Chandrika Kumaratunga had decided to keep devolution aside and work out an electoral alliance in an apparent bid to bring down the UNF government.

The sources said another serious dispute was continuing over the powerful post of general secretary of the proposed alliance. They said the JVP and some quarters of the SLFP preferred Anura Bandaranaike but seniors like Nimal Siripala Silva and D. M. Jayaratne are also known to be in the running.

Disagreement also prevails over the symbol of the new alliance. While the JVP is known to prefer the popular hand symbol, veteran SLFPers have threatened to go to courts if the hand is given away.

JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa said PA negotiating team leader Sarath Amunugama had assured he would sort out with the President certain provisions with which the JVP was not satisfied.

The date for the next round of talks has not been finalised but it is expected to take place within days. The sources said that if things worked out well, the PA negotiating team would be expanded to include President Kumaratunga herself, Lakshman Kadirgamar and Mangala Samaraweera.

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