Two Sri Lankan Parties on the Verge of Splitting
COLOMBO: Two Sri Lankan parties, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) are on the verge of splitting.
Fifty seven MPs of the SLFP recently gathered at the country residence of former Sri Lankan President and former SLFP chairman Mahinda Rajapaksa at Tangalle in South Sri Lanka to express solidarity with him in his bid to come back to politics and take over the SLFP from the incumbent Lankan President and party chairman, Maithripala Sirisena.
Apart from the known supporters of Rajapaksa there were those who were recently expelled from the Central Committee like T.B.Ekanayake, Salinda Dissanayake, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Gamini Lokuge. Prof.G.L.Peiris who has been writing articles against the Sirisena government, was also present. Former Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene, the latest to be sacked from the Central Committee, is also likely to troop to Tangalle.
Meanwhile, the former chief of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Somawansa Amarasinghe, has announced that he is leaving the party and starting his own. The present JVP has failed to live up to the expectations of the people, he told newsmen here on Thursday.
Amarasinghe had retired from the leadership last year and handed over the position to the much younger Anura Kumara Dissanayake. While Dissanayake is a popular speaker and a crusader against corruption, he has taken the party away from mass nationalist cum leftist politics to issues which agitate the politically conservative urban middle classes. He is now close to the right wing urban middle class party, the United National Party (UNP), both ideologically and politically. This rankles many traditional supporters of the JVP. Informed sources say that Amarasinghe may be representing this alienated class of partymen and followers.
The JVP had split earlier too. Sinhalese nationalist Wimal Weerawansa broke away to form the National Freedom Front. NFF struck an alliance with the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist Mahinda Rajapaksa. Kumar Gunaratnam, a left radical, broke away and formed the radical Frontline Socialist Party.