In a dramatic and politically significant twist a no confidence motion is being mooted against Northern province chief minister Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran by several Northern province councillors belonging to the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). At least 21 signatures have been obtained so far in this regard it is learnt. The TNA has 30 of the 38 seats in the Northern provincial council. Efforts are on to enlist more signatures within the next 24 hours.
Once the list of signatures is finalised a document will be submitted along with affidavits to Northern province governor Reginald Cooray urging him to dismiss the chief minister from office as he has lost the support of a majority of Northern Province councillors. Simultaneously a special sitting of the Northern provincial council is to be convened where the no confidence motion will be debated and put to the vote. Already there are 21 votes in support of the no confidence motion out of the 38 member Northern council. Even if more signatures are not obtained the current number of 21 is enough to unseat Wigneswaran as chief minister.
Though Wigneswaran himself contested under the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kstchi (ITAK)symbol of house on behalf of the Tamil National Alliance, a number of TNA Northern councillors have lost confidence in the former Supreme court judge due to Wigneswaran’s controversial unilateral conduct in recent times.
What had triggered off the current no confidence move is Wigneswaran’s latest controversial and unorthodox attempt to monopolise and virtually take over the Northern province board of ministers. Wigneswaran has informed the NPC Chairman C. V. K. Sivagnanam that he as chief minister is “Temporarily” appropriating all powers and functions allocated to the four provincial ministers of the NPC.
Wigneswaran has asked Agriculture minister Aingaranesan and Education minister Gurukularajah to “voluntarily” submit their resignations within 24 hours. The chief minister has also asked Health minister Dr. Sathiyalingam and Fisheries minister Deneeswaran to go on “Compulsory Leave” for a month. He has said this “Leave” is likely to be extended further.
Wigneswaran who unilaterally appointed a three member commission of inquiry to probe the four provincial ministers selected and appointed by him later tried to suppress the report contents by not releasing it. However the NPC opposition leader S. Thavarajah got hold of the report and released it to the media. Wigneswaran in a speech made at the NPC blamed those responsible for publicising the report saying they had opened “Pandora’s box” instead of dealing with the issue quietly.
The inquiry found ministers Aingaranesan and Gurukularajah as being guilty of some of the charges and recommended that they and their secretaries be removed from office. The report also stated that the allegations against ministers Sathiyalingam and Deneeswaran could not be proved due to insufficient evidence.
Chief minister Wigneswaran however now wants to conduct fresh investigations against Ministers Sathiyalingam and Deneeswaran and therefore wants them to go on leave so as to facilitate the probe. When the earlier probe was conducted none of the ministers were asked to go on leave.
Many NPC councillors belonging to the TNA are disturbed and concerned by the chief minister’s erratically unilateral conduct on this issue. His attempt to take over all functions of the four ministries are seen as a potential disaster as Wigneswaran has acquired an infamous reputation of being an incompetent administrator. The departments coming under the chief minister’s purview are said to bear the hallmarks of maladministration and corruption.
However Wigneswaran did not submit himself or the departments under him to be probed by the inquiry commission he set up. The inquiry commission comprised two retired high court judges and an ex- Government agent
There is also the question of the Chief minister’s responsibility and otential culpability in a situation where all four provincial ministers appointed by him are reportedly guilty of corruption. What was the chief minister that too a supreme court judge was dping when all these corrupt acts were being perpetrated? is a multi – crore rupee question.
The corruption level in departments under the chief minister, the chief ministers failure to check corruption of his ministers, chief minister’s administrtive incompetence, chief minister’s unilateral attempt to take over all ministerial functions of the NPC etc are the main reasons motivating the TNA Northern provincial councillors to revolt against Wigneswaran and initiate moves to remove him from office.
Wigneswaran addressed the Northern provincial council on June 14th where he announced his plan of taking over all four ministry functions after calling for the resignations of two ministers and compulsory leave of two other ministers. Three Opposition and over a dozen TNA members walked out in protest at different times.
Political observers say that the politically beleaguered Wigneswaran as a last resort to save himself may appeal to TNA leader R. Sampanthan.