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JVP severs ties with PNM, Manel Mal
Claim dissidents’ vehicles, salaries belong to party

The JVP yesterday signalled a break-up in its long standing relationship with the Patriotic National Front (PNM) and Manel Mal Viyaparaya as one of the rebels, Mrs. Sujatha Alahakoon, MP, gave up her struggle due to pressure.

Somawansa Amarasinghe loyalist Ranaweera Pathirana, MP, (Anuradhapura District) yesterday asserted that the JVP wouldn’t need them. "We’ll not depend on them," he told a press conference at the National Library Services Board where the JVP produced Mrs. Alahakoon.

Responding to The Island, Pathirana, who spoiled the first press conference called by the dissidents at the Nippon early this week, said the JVP wouldn’t depend on Manel Mal Viyaparaya, PNM or any other organisation.

Strongly condemning their Parliamentary Group leader Wimal Weerawansa’s explosive statement in Parliament, Pathirana likened Weerawansa’s predicament to that of the snake that decided to make a living on its own.

"Let me tell you the story of the snake charmer and his snake. The man earned a living by snake charming. The snake used to get an egg a day. But one day the snake felt it could do better by going before the people on its own. You know what would have happened then? The reptile would have been attacked and killed by people."

Mrs. Alahakoon repeatedly denied that she had been forced to quit Weerawansa’s camp. The Matale District MP rejected the assertion she had been part of a conspiracy against the leadership.

Pathirana dismissed the support extended to Weerawansa by two prominent Buddhist monks who had been at the forefront of JVP inspired campaign to promote the ongoing military action against the LTTE, resist foreign intervention and essentially support the SLFP-led ruling coalition.

Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka thero, General Secretary of Deshapremi Bhikku Peramuna and Omare Kassapa, General Secretary of Ruhunurata Bhikku Peramuna, have urged Weerawansa to take over the party.

They also urged the MP to join forces with the Patriotic National Front, Manel Mal Viyaparaya and other nationalist organisations.

In a letter sent to Weerawansa, the monks, while condemning the party for relieving him of his responsibilities, urged him to support the SLFP-led ruling coalition at the first ever elections to the Eastern Provincial Council. They emphasised the importance of preserving the identity of the JVP even if he backed the ruling alliance at the elections.

Warning him of dire consequences if he remained with the group responsible for the crisis, they pledged their continued support if he remained a patriot.

JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has accused the PNM of being involved in the Weerawansa led conspiracy. Amarasinghe early this week told a press conference that dissidents had lunch at the PNM headquarters before meeting the press at the Nippon.

Pathirana who had been present at the meeting at the PNM said they were addressed by Senarath Silva a one-time JVP activist. According to him, during the meeting an attempt was made to get signatures of the dissidents to a petition addressed to the Secretary General of Parliament to stop paying their monthly salary to a special JVP Fund. That didn’t materialise as the majority of dissidents had been opposed to the idea, he said.

Pathirana acknowledged he alerted the JVP to the dissidents’ plan immediately after the conspiracy at PNM headquarters and decided to join the press briefing at the Nippon where he almost succeeded in disrupting the briefing.

Responding to The Island, Pathirana said all vehicles acquired on duty free permits issued by the government would belong to the party. Declining to comment on the seizure of vehicles from dissidents MPs, Pathirana, a former Provincial Councillor, said unlike other major parties, the vehicle would be the property of the party. He emphasised the individual MPs had absolutely no right to their salaries or vehicles due to an understanding with the party.

The press conference came to an abrupt end after the media men repeatedly challenged the JVP decision to deny entry to a journalist from Lanka e-news, a website believed to be supportive of Wimal Weerawansa. Pathirana said he couldn’t interfere with the organisers of the briefing and called off the meeting vowing the JVP would resolve the dispute over the festive period.

The Lanka e-news representative came under fire at the previous press conference called by Somawansa Amarasinghe at the same venue. The JVP leader accused him of misrepresenting facts to the advantage of the JVP’s opponents after the journalist asked whether the JVP wanted to hammer and ridicule Weerawansa while calling for reconciliation publicly.

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