Premachandran sees leadership challenged

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 March 1999, 22:14 GMT]
The EPRLF's general secretary Suresh Premachandran said today that ex-chief minister Annamalai Varatharajapperumal had no authority to reorganise the group. He stated that his former colleague was in Batticaloa in his private capacity to visit friends and party members and that there is no need for Mr.Perumal to reorganise the party because it is currently functioning without any problems.

According to Premachandran, it is the EPRLF's central committee that has to decide on issues.

The central committee did not send the ex-chief minister to Batticaloa on any mission nor has it asked him to engage in any discussion about the party and its future said Suresh Premachandran.

The EPRLF leader's statement today confirmed reports that the arrival of the ex-chief minister from India has caused a serious split in the group which was fast disintegrating for want of funds, cadres and political motivation.

The senior cadres in the east who had ceased to be active for many years said today, after meeting Perumal that the ex-chief minister is in a better position to pull behind him the majority in what remains of the group's membership.

They added that the few cadres who are active now strongly feel that Perumal could get funds from the Indian central government to give them a better deal.

Meanwhile, Perumal had discussions with Batticaloa mayor Cheliyan Perinpanayagam, the retired principal of the Batticaloa Hindu College (formerly Government College) Mr. K. Thangavel, and other well wishers and supporters today.

EPRLF and Razeek group sources said that the discussion centred on the merger of the northern and eastern provinces, the possibility of a southeastern council for the Muslims and the how the EPRLF could face elections to local government bodies in the east and the army controlled areas of the Vanni this year or early next year.

The ex-chief minister had expressed the view that the EPRLF's should not depend on full time cadres alone but should henceforth be reorganised by drawing in community leaders and people from various walks of life.

Mr.Perinpanayakam was elected Mayor on the TELO ticket in 1994. He will join the EPRLF to contest elections in the future said sources close to him today.

Mr.Perumal's visit had helped clinch the deal between the mayor and the EPRLF they said.

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