Colombo, February 15 (newsin.asia): In an effort to assert his power over coalition partner United National Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s President and chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Maithripala Sirisena, on Thursday appointed Muttu Sivaligam of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) as Deputy Minister of Primary Industries.
The Cabinet Minister of Primary Industries is Daya Gamage who belongs to the UNP.
The CWC, which is a party of plantation workers of Indian origin, has been an ally of the SLFP and had done well in Nuwara Eliya district in the February 10 local bodies elections.
President Sirisena had promised to bring about some governmental changes to tone up the administration in the light of the poor performance of both the SLFP and the UNP in the February 10 local bodies elections.
While the UNP came a poor second to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sirisena’s SLFP was trailing fa behind in the number three slot.
The move to appoint Muttu Sivaligam would not have annoyed the UNP as the post had been vacant and no UNP minister was displaced.
This is in tune with the tacit understanding that exists between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. Both want the coalition to continue till the next parliamentary elections in August 2020, though both are under pressure from their respective parties to go it alone and form a government with defectors.
With Sivaligam’s appointment, the CWC enters the Council of Ministers. Earlier all ministers from the Indian Origin Tamil community were from the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) headed by the Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and National Languages Mano Ganeshan. The TPA is an electoral ally of the UNP.
(The featured image at the top is that of Mutu Sivalingam, chairman of the Ceylon Workers Congress and the new Deputy Minister of Primary Industries)