5:10 PM

Looser go to Parliment

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem is likely to return to Parliament later next month, when sittings resume after a month long prorogation.

Hakeem, SLMC Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood and Party General Secretary M.T. Hassan Ali resigned from their Parliamentary seats to contest last Saturday’s Eastern Provincial Council election.

It is learnt that Hakeem and Dawood might take oaths before Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara. However, no final decision has been taken yet.

The SLMC Leader told The Nation that he had not taken any final decision on the matter and noted that a decision would be taken only after consulting the people.

“I have not made any such decision, and in any event Parliament is prorogued now. I will be consulting the masses of people who gave me their overwhelming support during the election and then decide on my future course,” he added.

4:09 PM

Security News

Sri Lanka Army's mission to liberate Wanni from terror clutches reached another important juncture yesterday (May 17) as troops reached Palamiddi junction, the Northern edge of the Madhu jungle. While troops reached Palampiddi without facing much resistance from the terrorists, army continued its multi frontal offensives causing heavy damages to the terrorists.

Sri Lanka Air Force MI-24 helicopter gun ships raided an LTTE tactical operation centre located in general area Andankulam in Mannar front last night, May 17.

ecurity forces have taken necessary steps to keep the Omanthei Entry/Exit point in Vavuniya opened for northward passage Sunday (18) from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

4:06 PM

Ranil to fish in the troubled waters

The issue of the Chief Ministership of the East is still not over, though President Mahinda Rajapakse has sworn-in Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan. UNP and Ranil Wickremasinghe still keep the issue alive. According to the latest report, Ranil Wickremasinghe is trying his best to fish in the troubled waters by a promise to make M.L.A.M Hisbullah the Chief Minister. M.L.A.M Hisbullah has not swallowed the bait of Ranil. M.L.A.M Hisbullah has not swallowed the bait of Ranil.

With the view to turn the tide in favor of the UNP, Ranil Wickremasinghe, the opposition leader has thrown in bait with an assurance of making Hisbullah, the Chief Minister.

According to the advance made by Ranil Wickremasinghe, UNP has planned to ditch his sparring partner Rauff Hakeem and entice Hisbullah with the offer of Chief Ministership of the east.

It is reliably learnt that Ranil Wickremasinghe has contacted Hisbullah with the view to woo him and his two supporters to his fold to land a ‘knock out’ punch on President Mahinda Rajapakse in the East provincial council challenge as the bout still seems to be wide open.

According to available reports, the UNP leader has told that he is prepared to hand over 15 affidavits signed by the newly elected UNP provincial council members, as well as that of the lone JVP member, assuring their support in case he is prepared to cross over to UNP with his supporters.

But News-Lanka learnt that Hisbullah has not swallowed the bait of Ranil Wickremasinghe. It seems he has told that it was an issue with the UPFA leadership. He has told, it seems that he will settle his issue with UPFA leaders soon and thanked Ranil for his kind concern.

3:09 PM

Tilvin, Wimal pooh-pooh each other

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday declared that Wimal Weerawansa’s new party, the National Freedom Party (NFP), would have absolutely no impact on the JVP in any manner.

JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told The Nation that the new party formed by 11 former JVP MPs along with former JVP strongman Wimal Weerawansa would have no impact on the JVP at all.

“We have nothing to comment about their party. They can form whatever party they want, but our party will continue to go forward, as before. The NFP has no effect on the JVP at all, and it will have no effect on us in the future as well,” Silva said.
He also said that the party would soon arrive at a decision about the posts Weerawansa held during his membership in the JVP while he was an active member of the party.

“At our next politburo meeting we will name someone else in the JVP to hold the positions of propaganda secretary and the JVP Parliamentary group leader, which were positions held by Weerawansa,” Silva said.

Meanwhile, NFP Chairman Wimal Weerawansa told The Nation that they did not consider the JVP as their main political opponent. He added that the NFF was formulating plans to become the alternative to the UNP and the SLFP.

“The JVP, under the present leadership, is not a threat to us or the two main political parties. Our battle will be against the two main political parties and we will become the alternative to them,” he said.

According to Weerawansa, the JVP had missed the opportunity to become a real challenge to the UNP and the SLFP and emerge as a powerful political force after the 2005 elections.

“The JVP leadership made several strategic errors, which were similar to the errors made by traditional leftist parties like the LSSP and the Communist Party,” Weerawansa pointed out.

“The JVP was established as an alternative to the traditional left. We were successful. The second challenge was to defeat the two main parties and we have failed. The party has failed to place itself as the alternative, which has become more obvious in the recent past, and we will fill that vacuum,” the NFP Chairman added.