Fonseka-Backer Tiran To Be Appointed Minister Of Civil Aviation And Airport Services?
Speculation is rife that Democratic National Alliance (DNA) National List MP Tiran Alles has resigned from his position as General Secretary of the Democratic National Party headed by former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka.
Amid conflicting reports, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that Alles, who was the chief negotiator of Fonseka’s release from prison with the Rajapaksa government, has readied his letter of resignation but may not have handed it in so far. DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath has denied knowledge of Alles’ resignation and Fonseka himself has reportedly told confidants that he has not received a letter of resignation so far.
Alles’ fallout with the former General has been some months in the making insiders say, but matters may have reached a climax after Sarath Fonseka, in an interview with the Sinhala language Randiwa newspaper, declared “ Tiran cannot manipulate me” and went on to say that he would not take a bullet to serve Alles’ agendas. The newspaper reported Fonseka going as far as to say that “there was no friendship between Alles and himself”. Colombo Telegraph has made repeated attempts to contact Alles for clarification on the issue, even via text message, but the Parliamentarian has remained unreachable so far. He is yet to contradict reports of his resignation officially to any media organizations, almost all of whom have now published the news story.
Sources close to the government indicate that Alles is poised to join the Rajapaksa administration and say he may even be granted the ministerial portfolio of Civil Aviation and Airport Services in time to come.
Tiran Alles first attained fame in the presidential election of 2005 for his role in the infamous enforced LTTE boycott of the poll, allegedly at the behest of the Rajapaksa campaign. According to leaked US diplomatic cables, in February 2007, US Ambassador Robert O. Blake wrote to his Secretary of State saying that “all signs point to Tiran Alles, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Aviation Authority, often rumoured to be the GSL’s behind-the-scenes link to the LTTE.”
The cable went on to say: “Local papers say the security forces will soon arrest this individual on charges of conspiracy and links to the LTTE. The President announced at a ruling party meeting over the weekend that there is an LTTE conspiracy to assassinate him. An Embassy journalist contact told a PAO FSN that Tiran Alles is at the centre of a web involving Sinhalese support to the LTTE.”
Ambassador Blake notes in his cable that it was unlikely that the government of Sri Lanka can successfully prosecute Alles since the collateral damage to other members of the ruling administration would be ‘enormous’. “Already, the heavy-handed efforts to neutralize Alles, former Foreign Minister Samaraweera and his understudy, Sooriyarachchi, have come at a high political cost and undermined the stability of the government. Alles’ release on bail may be a sign that the parties are again trying to settle their differences. If the new attempt is successful, the story will likely disappear,” the US Ambassador noted at the time.
Following the defection of SLFP strongman Mangala Samaraweera, Alles joined opposition ranks and strongly backed the candidature of Sarath Fonseka, the common opposition candidate in the January 2010 election. Following the parliamentary election of April 2010, Alles was appointed a national list MP of the alliance that fielded Fonseka at the presidential and parliamentary election. Since mid-2011, Alles has been engaged in a one-man mission to obtain a presidential pardon for Fonseka negotiating his release directly with President Rajapaksa.
Courtesy: Colombo Telegraph