Pillayan withholds support for President

UPFA suffers major setback in East ahead of polls
By Chris Kamalendran

The Eastern Province’s largest Tamil political party, now with the UPFA Government, said yesterday it would not campaign for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election.
The decision was taken by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers) headed by Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan on Friday night.

“Thirteen of our 15 politburo members who took part in the meeting supported this move,” TMVP General Secretary Edwinsilva Kailasaraja told the Sunday Times. The meeting took place at the party office at Lake Road in Batticaloa and the members discussed the issue for almost three hours to arrive at this decision, he said.

Mr. Kailasaraja said te TMVP was not in a position to go to the people in the East and ask them to vote for Mr. Rajapaksa.

During the 18 months in office, he said, Chief Minister Chandrakanthan had been prevented from carrying out any development work or giving jobs to people in the East. “Hence, we have nothing to tell our people,” he said. The decision not to support President Rajapaksa was taken though the UPFA controls the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), holding 20 of the 35 seats. That includes six members of the TMVP who contested the last EPC poll on the UPFA ticket.

Mr. Kailasaraja accused the Provincial Governor Mohan Wijewickrema of obstructing the work of the Chief Minister. He said on two occasions they had written to President Rajapaksa on the matter. Even letters written to the Governor were not getting a response.

Gov. Wijewickrema, however, denied the allegation. Officials at the Governor’s office said Rear Admiral (retd.) Wijewickrema, with the approval of President Rajapaksa, provided 200 jobs for minor employees.Last week, the TMVP attempted to veto the financial allocations budgeted for the Governor in a bid to force him to quit. However, two TMVP councillors opposed the move and helped approve the allocations by a majority vote.

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