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New issues crop up to muddy North Sri Lankan political waters

Colombo, June 20: Even as the spat between Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran and the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) leader R.Sampanthan ended in a compromise on Monday, with both sides abandoning brinkmanship, new issues have been raised to muddy the political waters in the Tamil-majority province. writes P.K.Balachandran in Daily Express

On Monday itself, Chief Minister Wigneswaran asked the Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), C.V.K.Sivagnanam, to quit that post for his “partisan” role in the bid to present a No Confidence Motion against him.

Sivagnanam had led 15 NPC members to Governor Reginold Cooray to tell him that they intend to move a No Trust Move against Chief Minister Wingeswaran.

C.V.K.Sivagnanam .Photo. Tamilcnn

The 15 NPC members who had signed the demand for a No Confidence Motion  now say that the appointment of the commission to go into allegations against all the four members of the Board of Ministers, was in violation of the privileges of the NPC.

As per the Provincial Councils Act, complaints against Ministers will have to be examined, not by an outside agency, but by a Select Committee of the NPC as is the norm in the Sri Lankan parliament. It is the privilege of the House to sit in judgment over the conduct of its members and that this had been breached by the Chief Minister.

According to the NPC members, the Chief Minister has committed himself to conducting an independent “legal” inquiry against Ministers P.Sathiyalingam and B.Deinswaran. If it is to be “legal”, it has to accord with the Provincial Council Act and the constitution, and that means that the inquiry committee should be a Select Committee of the House and not a set of outsiders.

The said NPC members want a Select Committee of the Council to go into the charges against “all the Ministers including the Chief Minister”. S.Sritharan MP alleges that there are complaints against the Chief Minister also in regard to the affairs of departments under him such as Lands and Administration.

P.Ayngaranesan. Photo.Tamilcnn

The committee which had earlier gone into allegations against four ministers comprised two retired High Court Judges and a retired civil servant. The Chief Minister said on Monday that the committee that he would appoint to go into charges against Sathiyalingam and Deniswaran would be a new one.

Meanwhile, P.Ayngaranesan, the former Minister of Agriculture, told the media that he was asked to resign from the post even though the inquiry commission did not say anywhere in its report that he was guilty.

He said he would go to court challenging the decision to ask him to resign. He further said that his ouster was engineered by fellow party man and MP M.A.Sumanthiran, acting in cahoots with forces in the Sri Lankan government,  which did not like his opposition to environmentally damaging development projects.