The two-faced acts of JVP defector and
Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF),
Wimal Weerawansa came out in the open during
his days as the star of the JVP.
Although Weerawansa denied every detail
revealed about him in the media, before
long, everyone was able to see his true
nature for themselves.
His decision to defect from the JVP, along
with 10 other members, to form a separate
party indirectly supportive of the
government was when Weerawansa made his
great expose to the people.
Weerawansa then lost his credibility in the
face of the public. His statements that the
newly formed NFF would be made the third
force in the country's political scene soon
became a joke among the people.
However, it was President Mahinda Rajapakse,
who said that it was pointless to have
Weerawansa defect from the JVP and form a
separate party and support the government as
the need was to have him inside the JVP and
carry out the government's agenda from
President stays firm
The President made this statement when
Weerawansa and the other defectors requested
that they be taken into the government and
given ministerial portfolios.
The President sent word through Basil that
if Weerawansa defected from the JVP, then
the only action that remained was for him to
form his own party and build his strength
Unable to accept the President's position,
Weerawansa then worked on getting another
JVP defector, Nandana Gunathileka, appointed
as the deputy speaker in parliament.
Rajapakse, who was very adept at playing his
cards, till the last minute, gave Weerawansa
the impression that his request would be
With the expose on the story behind
Weerawansa's failed attempt to get
Gunathileka appointed as the deputy speaker
in parliament a controversy erupted in the
NFF. Members of the NFF held Weerawansa
responsible for the bad treatment meted out
to them by the government. They said that
though they were working for the government
they were not being rewarded for it and that
they were facing political extinction.
The NFF members pointed their fingers at
Weerawansa and asked him to stand firm when
making demands from Basil.
It is also learnt that Gunathileka after
finding out the truth behind the failed
attempt to make him deputy speaker, had
switched off his mobile phone and left for
an unknown destination for about a week.
The controversy within the NFF grew to such
an extent that many of the parliamentarians
refrained from attending meetings called by
Weerawansa had no other but Minister Dulles
Alahapperuma to turn to with his sad story.
He told Alahapperuma that due to the
President's actions and the exposes made in
The Sunday Leader and sister paper Irudina,
the NFF was facing a huge crisis. He
requested Alahapperuma to intervene to help
resolve the crisis.
Alahapperuma agreed to help Weerawansa.
"There is an art to get the President to
approve a request. These are not things that
could be spoken directly. Give me a few
days. I will do the needful," he had said.
Alahapperuma also asked Weerawansa to work
to strengthen Basil Rajapakse's position in
the government. When Weerawansa left
Alahapperuma was a much happier man.
A few days later NFF Member Piyasiri
Wijenayake informed Weerawansa that members
were to be named to the Committee on Public
Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts
Committee (PAC), which were dissolved with
the prorogation of parliament. He said that
traditionally, it is a member of the
opposition who is made the head of these
committees and therefore it would be wise to
get a member of the NFF appointed as the
head of one of the committees with the help
of the government.
However, Weerawansa was hesitant to accept
the proposal, given his previous experience
over the appointment of the deputy speaker.
Wijenayake insisted that since the post has
to be given to the opposition and since the
government had learnt its lesson from having
members from the real opposition heading the
committees, it would be ideal to get the
support to appoint an NFF member as the head
of one of the committees. He also said that
such a post would minimise the grievances of
the disgruntled NFF members.
Weerawansa finally agreed to Wijenayake's
request and decided to meet Alahapperuma and
request him to get the President's support
to appoint Wijenayake as the head of COPE.
Alahapperuma, who has already boasted to
Weerawansa that he had mastered the art of
convincing the President agreed to help in
the endeavour. Weerawansa then informed
Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala
de Silva and Chief Government Whip, Minister
Dinesh Gunawardena of Wijenayake's proposed
appointment as the head of COPE.
They told Weerawansa, "Traditionally, the
lead posts of the two committees are given
to the opposition. However, whether this
tradition will be followed this time around
is yet to be decided by the President. If he
makes the final decision and informs us
there would not be an issue."
Weerawansa responded in a positive manner
and began work on getting Wijenayake
appointed as the head of COPE. From time to
time he inquired from Alahapperuma about
the President's response. "Do not worry
about anything. I am handling the President
well. Do not worry Wimal, it will be done,"
Relieved by Alahapperuma's response,
Weerawansa continued with his plan.
By the time Alahapperuma approached the
President with Weerawansa's request, De
Silva and Gunawardena had already informed
him of the request to make Wijenayake the
chairman of COPE.
The President objected to the request at
once. "They are trying to get the
chairmanship and become heroes through that.
Wijedasa also tried to do something similar.
Weerawansa and his group are trying to find
short cuts to reach the top. That is not the
way, ask them to hold meetings and go among
the people. I do not care about these
traditions. Appoint two members from the
government to head the two committees,"
Alahapperuma's 'art' did not work with the
President. Not about to give up, he
continued to request the President to
appoint Wijenayake as the chairman of COPE.
Rajapakse responded by asking Alahapperuma
to do his part and stop acting on behalf of
Weerawansa and his group.
The day before members were appointed to the
two committees, Alahapperuma informed
Weerawansa that the government had decided
to appoint two of its members to head the
Thoroughly disappointed and embarrassed,
Weerawansa asked Alahapperuma as to why the
President was treating him in this manner. A
disappointed Wijenayake said that he was now
suffering the consequences of making the
wrong political move. Wijenayake told
Weerawansa that they could no longer keep
silent against the unfair treatment meted
out to them by the President and the
A few minutes later, the rest of the NFF
members heard of Weerawansa's plight.
They called on Weerawansa to rise against
the government, as they could no longer
remain silent given the fact that they were
neither accepted by the government nor given
any of the perks and privileges.
Weerawansa tried hard to calm the members by
saying that they should be a little more
patient. The NFF members however threatened
Weerawansa that if he did not start
attacking the government, they would do it
Gunathileka also felt that if the party did
not start attacking the government and
capture its attention, they would continue
to be illtreated by the President.
On the attack
Meanwhile, Wijenayake requested Weerawansa's
permission to launch a surprise attack
against the government. That was to align
themselves with the UNP and call for
Wijenayake's appointment as the chairman of
Weerawansa had no option but to agree to
Wijenayake's request and asked him to open a
dialogue with the UNP.
Wijenayake met UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake and
asked for the UNP's support when his name
was proposed as COPE chairman. He promised
Karunanayake that he would act strongly
against the government, even more than
Karunanayake however said that he could not
make a final decision on the matter without
speaking to the party leader. The UNP then
informed Karunanayake that there was no need
to support Wijenayake.
After failing in all their attempts,
Weerawansa and Wijenayake decided to make a
special statement in parliament against the
government's decision to appoint two of its
members to head COPE and
Weerawansa then informed Wijenayake and the
rest of the NFF membership that from now on,
their support to the government would be
decided on a case-by-case basis.
However with the unfolding developments
some members of the NFF members have become
jittery and have started a dialogue with the
JVP to return to the fold and some dramatic
moves can be expected in August, most
probably before the provincial polls.
Wimal plans to launch media network
JVP defector and Leader of the National
Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa, who
has been disappointed many times by the
government has decided to launch a new
project last week.
The project is to organise a media network
of his own. Japan Saman, who was the former
head of the JVP's branch in Japan when the
party had a branch there, had promised to
provide the necessary financial backing to
With an idea of starting his own newspaper,
Weerawansa called the manager of the Lakdiva
newspaper, where he used to work at one time
before entering politics, Thilak Eparachchi
for a meeting.
The Lakdiva newspaper that was compiled by
Vini Hettigoda and Sunil Madhava
Premathileka created a change in the Sinhala
print media at the time it was launched.
Looking for support
Weerawansa and Japan Saman had a lengthy
discussion with Eparachchi on reviving the
Lakdiva newspaper. Eparachchi had also said
that he could get Premathileka to join the
newspaper once again, if it were to be
Weerawansa however had said that he wished
to hold the ownership of the newspaper while
its management would be in the hands of the
Japan Saman at the discussion had said that
he was willing to pay a sum of Rs. 2 million
to get the rights of the newspaper's name.
Weerawansa had then revealed a secret. He
had said that the newspaper was the first
step in building a media network belonging
to the NFF. The second and third steps
according Weerawansa would be the launching
of a TV and radio station. He had also said
the President had already agreed to give him
the necessary licenses to commence
operations of the two stations.
However, due to Eparachchi's hesitance to
give a clear answer, Weerawansa could not
proceed with the plan to recommence the
Weerawansa and Japan Saman had then decided
to look at reviving another old newspaper
Weerawansa believed that if his newspaper
was launched with a name like Heladiva, he
would be able to get the support of several
JHU members as well.
Discussion with Dulles
Before looking into starting his own
newspaper, Weerawansa had first held a
discussion with Minister Dulles Alahapperuma
on garnering the government's support for
At the meeting, Alahapperuma had promised
the fullest support of the government with
President Mahinda Rajapakse's blessings to
Weerawansa and had also discussed using the
newspaper to attack one of the President's
friends who had recently started a
Weerawansa criticising this newly launched
newspaper had said that if he was given
licenses to start a radio and TV channel, he
could intensify the attack on the individual
and ensure the closure of his radio channel
Alahapperuma had told Weerawansa that he
knew how to approach the President and had
promised to do it in a manner where he could
get Weerawansa the licenses to commence a
radio and TV channel.
The discussion ended with Weerawansa
explaining his plan of building a media
empire for the NFF.
UNP gears for PC polls
The UNP's parliamentary group met last
Tuesday morning at the parliamentary
Commencing the meeting, Opposition Leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the party
could not accept the government's decision
to spend billions of rupees on the SAARC
Summit at a time the country was facing a
serious economic crisis and a security
Wickremesinghe said the UNP should object to
this decision and said the government's
decision to demolish several structures in
Glennie Street, Slave Island was also wrong.
Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake at the
meeting highlighted that since SriLankan
Airlines was acquired by the government, the
airline had incurred a loss of Rs. 5,000
million. He said it was a grave situation.
Action to stop rigging
Parliamentarian Palitha Ranga Bandara then
said that action should be taken to prevent
the government from trying to rig the
provincial polls. He added that the party
should take necessary legal action without
Wickremesinghe then informed the
parliamentarians of the present situation
with regard to the North Central and
Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections.
He said that all UNP parliamentarians should
work as one.
The UNP's election coordinating committee
also met last week.
At the meeting, Wickremesinghe pointed out
that the party had to win the forthcoming
provincial council elections.
He said that all UNP parliamentarians should
work to ensure the party's victory and added
that the MPs who were working hard in the
campaign should not be discouraged from
"Everyone should work to win their
respective electorates. I do not need the
glory of the victory, as it would be with
you. However, if you lose your electorate,
then the responsibility should also be borne
by you. Do not blame either me or the
party," Wickremesinghe said.
The party's political affairs committee also
met on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
At the meeting, Parliamentarian John
Amaratunge said that in order to determine
if there was a legal issue with regard to
appointing S.B. Dissanayake to parliament,
he should be appointed to parliament through
the party's national list.
Amaratunge also proposed that a request be
made to the party's national list member,
K.N. Choksy to resign from his post for a
period of one week.
Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake also
agreed to the proposal. Wickremesinghe said
that he had no objection to the proposal.
However, he said it was important to discuss
the matter with Choksy.
The one-day islandwide token strike launched
by the JVP was also taken up for discussion
at the meeting. Parliamentarian Johnston
Fernando said that if the party was given
enough time, the party could have
participated in a more productive manner by
creating awareness among the members.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe asked
Parliamentarian Joseph Michael Perera to
give the party reform proposals to the
working committee as soon as possible. He
said that a document that has the consensus
of the reforms committee members should be
handed over to the working committee.
Perera, who may have not understood the
Party Leader's comments, last week
distributed a leaflet among UNP
parliamentarians calling for their approval
for it. The leaflet proposed Wickremesinghe
to be named as the party's leader and Rukman
Senanayake as the party's deputy leader with
S.B. Dissanayake and Sajith Premadasa as
assistant leaders. The first to object to it
was Wickremesinghe himself.
"You have not understood what I said. What I
want is something that includes the
proposals of all the members and not names
of individuals. Put forward the principles,"
Party Chairman Rukman Senanayake also agreed
to it. Perera then took the leaflets back
after realising the real requirement.
Basil stirs the pot in NCP
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse who
left the island due to many disagreements
and disappointments returned to the country
following several pleas made by Minister
Dulles Alahapperuma for his quick return.
Basil left the country for several reasons.
Among them was the loss of the Beliatte
organiser post and the President's
disapproval of his nominees for the chief
ministerial post in the North Central and
Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils.
Alahapperuma, who saw a move by several
parties including JHU's Champika Ranawaka to
bring Gotabaya Rajapakse to politics,
decided to somehow bring Basil back into the
Back on the job
Upon his return, Basil was informed by
Alahapperuma to immediately take over the
government campaigns in the North Central
and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. Basil acted
accordingly, and even worked to create a new
controversy in the run up to the provincial
Since the calling of provincial council
elections for the North Central and
Sabaragamuwa Provinces, Basil kept
requesting the President not to name former
North Central Province Chief Minister Berty
Premalal Dissanayake as the chief
ministerial candidate of the government this
time around. He said that Dissanayake would
lose the election due to the many corruption
charges against him.
Basil requested the President to name a new
candidate for the post of chief minister.
The President however did not heed Basil's
After returning to the island, Basil did not
make any such requests from the President.
Basil worked on getting another appointed as
the chief minister.
Basil is now working to promote the brother
of Minister S.M. Chandrasena, Ranjith
Chandrasena, who is also a close confidant
of the President, as the government's chief
ministerial candidate in the North Central
Summoning the Chandrasena family, Basil
informed them that neither the party nor the
President had made any decision to make
Dissanayake the party's chief ministerial
candidate. He added that the government was
yet to name its chief ministerial candidate.
"I have received the President's consent to
appoint the candidate who receives the
highest preferential votes as the chief
minister. We will not announce it during the
campaign, but afterwards. The President has
agreed to it," Basil said.
Basil then asked the Chandrasenas to
immediately launch a massive propaganda
campaign to secure the highest preferential
votes in the Anuradhapura District. He added
that the necessary financial backing and the
help of the state media would be provided
during the last few weeks of the campaign.
Basil then sent several messages to the
powerful candidates supporting Dissanayake
in the North Central Province. The message
was that Dissanayake would not be made the
chief minister and that it would be given to
the candidate who secures the highest number
of preferential votes.
This move hampered Dissanayake's campaign
and as a result, one of his close
confidantes, the former mayor of
Anuradhapura, Somadasa, decided to switch
sides. Somadasa commenced his own election
campaign. It has also been said that
Somadasa might join forces with Ranjith
Chandrasena in the next few days.
Basil after creating this controversy in the
North Central Province has now entered the
Sabaragamuwa Province and begun to implement
the same modus operandi there - that is to
appoint another chief ministerial candidate
instead of Maheepala Herath and several
rounds of discussions have already been held
on the matter.
Discussions have been held with Ministers
Susantha Punchinilame and Mahinda
Rathnatilake. Basil has expressed his need
to appoint a chief ministerial candidate who
is not affiliated to either Ministers
Pavithra Wanniarachchi or John Seneviratne.
Basil therefore has thrown in his lot with
Punchinilame and Rathnatilake.
Basil's chief ministerial candidate for the
Sabaragamuwa Province will soon be revealed.
It is now evident that Basil has decided to
work to appoint two chief ministers loyal to
him with future political motives. It is
important to look at Basil's moves in the
light of talk of bringing Gotabaya into
Basil's actions may also be the first step
of his plan to secure power of the SLFP and
it is interesting to note his partner in
this endeavour - Dulles Alahapperuma.
It is also important to see if Basil's
decision to axe Dissanayake and Herath as
the chief ministerial candidates was
prompted due to their close affiliations to
However, Basil's actions have had an adverse
impact on Dissanayake's campaign and his
house that is usually bustling with SLFPers
is now an empty place. In order to hide the
poor show, Dissanayake has now put up an
asbestos shield around the main wall
surrounding the house.