JVP home and home battle shifts to PCs
Ratnapura Councillor defends Wimal, warns of extra support to dissidents

The damaging battle between the Somawansa and Weerawansa factions is likely to spread to JVP groups in the provinces with both parties vigorously seeking the support of Provincial Councillors.

The Weerawansa faction has already received the support of E. W. S. Priyanjith Vitharana, Sabaragamuwa PC member and the leader of the Ratnapura District JVP Councillors.

Political sources said the JVP leadership had failed to convince its Provincial Councillors and Local Government members that Weerawansa’s actions had been detrimental to the party.

The Ratnapura District leader has warned JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva that he and many other like minded members wouldn’t hesitate even to challenge the party if the leadership failed to resolve the dispute.

In a hard hitting letter, the District leader had rejected JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe’s declaration that Weerawansa hadn’t been relieved of his duties. There was absolutely no point in lying about the hotly disputed decision to expel Weerawansa on March 21, he said, urging the General Secretary to call formal talks with dissidents without further delay.

He also accused the JVP leadership of deceiving members of Provincial Councils when they repeatedly inquired about the dispute in the run up to Weerawansa’s shocking revelation in the House on April 8.

The statement made by Weerawansa absolutely disputed the JVP’s version of events leading to the break-up, he said, asserting the division among the 37 member parliamentary group confirmed the crisis hadn’t been centered on Weerawansa but a bigger problem involving party seniors had been revealed.

The Councillor asserted that the break-up hadn’t been spontaneous but caused by sharp divisions of opinion and organisational and political lapses and shortcomings over a period of time.

Echoing Weerawansa, the Councillor attacked the party’s decision to deviate from the ruling coalition after the last presidential elections in November, 2005. He also criticised the failure on the part of the leadership to implement long overdue party reforms needed to improve and expand the party structure.

He also claimed due to shortcomings and negligence on the part of the leadership about 15-20 fulltime members had quit the party in all districts. The Ratnapura and Kegalle districts had lost 21 and 27 full time members last year.

He asserted the current crisis over Weerawansa’s challenge to the party leadership was an extension of the trouble caused by Nandana Gunatlleke’s split with the party. Unfortunately the party’s reaction to Weerawansa was similar to that taken against Gunatilleke.

The battle spreads to Provincial Councils as Weerawansa and Patriotic National Front and Manel Mal Viyaparaya joined forces to meet the JVP challenge. The dissidents wouldn’t give up their fight until the party had accepted them, a spokesman said.

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