Two of the ousted Ministers in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province have reportedly refused to accept Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s fresh condition to defuse the political crisis gripping the Tamil-majority province.
In his discussion with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Supremo, R.Sampanthan, Chief Minister Wigneswaran had said that he will allow P.Sathiyalingam and B.Deniswaran to continue to function as Ministers while an inquiry into charges against them is on, provided they give “in writing” an undertaking that they will not interfere with the inquiry. It appears that Sampanthan was agreeable to this condition and had said that the plan to table a No Confidence Motion against Wigneswaran will be given up.
But the two ministers said that they will not give any such thing in writing. They had also categorically refused to work with Wigneswaran.
It was pointed out that when the three man commission conducted an inquiry against four ministers earlier, none of them was asked to go on leave or give any undertaking in writing. On top of that, the earlier commission had exonerated Sathiyalingam and Deniswaran.
Sampanthan’s bid to bring about a settlement through a compromise formula suffered a setback also because top TNA leader Mavai Senathirajah was against it. Senathirajah felt let down because he had taken the trouble to rally NPC members on the non-confidence motion issue.
However, many in Jaffna are still hoping that a compromise will be worked out because they support Wigneswaran as a leader, and the TNA as a party. The population is hoping that Sampanthan will come to Jaffna and have a pow wow with Wigneswaran and then jointly announce a settlement.
But the atmosphere is vitiated by a clash of egos. And there are hurt feelings on both sides. Wigneswaran gives the impression that he is ready for a compromise, but actually he is not. Perhaps Sampanthan is doing the same.
This makes sense when seen against the backdrop of the cold war between the two factions which has been on for almost three years. The two sides have drifted apart quite a bit.
And with the anti-Wigneswaran faction having the numbers to topple him, it might like to go for the kill rather than give up, unless thwarted by a détente at the top-most level, namely, between Sampanthan and Wigneswaran.