2ND LEAD (CORRECTION)
Rajapaksa appoints new SLFP organizer to North
[TamilNet, Sunday, 22 August 2010, 08:23 GMT]
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the leader of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a constituent of ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), appointed Saturday Angkayan Ramanathan, a leading businessman from Valveddiththu'rai as the new SLFP organizer of North Sri Lanka, sources in Jaffna said. Angkayan Ramanathan is appointed in place of Thangarasa, who was charged in Jaffna Magistrate Court of swindling more than seven millions rupees promising Jaffna peninsula youths employment and imprisoned. Meanwhile, this appointment is seen as one of the measures taken by Rajapaksa family to sideline Sri Lanka minister and leader of Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), Douglas Devananda who acts as the sole representative of Sri Lanka government in the North, political observers in the peninsula said.
Ramanathan who is said to be a close friend of Sri Lanka minister Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had fielded Angkayan as the SLFP candidate in the last parliamentary election in Jaffna district.
During the election campaign Angkayan and his supporters were attacked by a group of armed men alleged to be supporters of EPDP which was also contesting Jaffna in district. Three supporters of Angkayan were said to be abducted at gun point by the armed men who had set fire to one of the vehicles of Angkayan group.
Conflicting interests between the candidates of SLFP and EPDP who were contesting jointly in ruling UPFA ticket may had been the cause for the attack.
Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Basil Rajapaksa had intervened in the efforts of Douglas Devananda as the representative of Sri Lanka government in North to resettle uprooted families in Valikaamam North Sri Lanka Army High Security Zone and blocked it against Douglas Devananda's wishes.
The Rajapaksa family does not want Douglas Devananda to function as the government representative of North gaining popularity among the voters in the peninsula and the appointment of Angkayan Ramanathan as the new SLFP organizer of the North is another move to gradually shear the political power Douglas Devananda had been wielding and soon he might be further stripped of powers, the political observers said.