Crisis within UPFA deepens over Mahaveli Ministry
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 April 2004, 18:04 GMT]
The crisis within the United People’s Freedom Alliance over the allocation of ministries to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) deepened Friday, with the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, asserting that the allocation of four ministries to the JVP was consistent with a pre-poll agreement between the leaders of the SLFP and the JVP in forming the alliance.
The SLFP General Secretary has been appointed the Minister for River Basin and Rajarata Development, which includes the Mahaveli river development and he talked to mediapersons after assuming duties in his ministry office.
The Irrigation ministry has been allocated to the JVP without the subject of Mahaveli Development, but the JVP has been demanding that key subject be included under the Irrigation ministry, political sources said.
Mr. Sirisena argued that Irrigation and Mahaveli development were two
separate entities. “I never requested the President to hand over Mahaveli Ministry to me,” Mr. Sirisena said, adding, “I will act according to the wishes of the President."
”There is no dispute over Mahaveli development subject according to the
agreement signed by the leaders of the SLFP and JVP prior to the general
election," said the Minister.
Meanwhile, the JVP has rejected a suggestion made by the President to bring
the subject of Mahaveli Development under Minister Mr.Anura Bandaranaike, the brother of the President who is now in charge Tourism and Investment Promotion, sources said.
President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge has not given her consent to a
suggestion by the JVP that she should take over the Mahaveli Development subject under
her control and hand over the post of Deputy Minister for Mahaveli Development to the JVP, political sources said.
Mr. Sirisena further said the financial assistance channeled to
the Northeast province for rehabilitation would also be utilized for the
rehabilitation of the north-central province.