COLOMBO: Recent moves by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by-passing the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and the Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran, have annoyed the Tamils, who constitute the majority in the province.
During his recent visit to the province, the Prime Minister neither met the Chief Minister nor the members of the NPC. While he met various groups of Tamils, representing various interests, he did not involve the elected members of the council, its ministers, or the Chief Minister in any of the meetings. The Chief Minister was not even told of the PM’s three-day tour.
“This is an affront to the elected provincial council. He has devalued the NPC and the office of CM,” a member of the NPC who belongs to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) told Express on Sunday.
Wickremesinghe had gone a step further and announced that he would appoint a Special Officer in his office to attend to the needs of the North.
“If the Special Officer is to be located in the North, then it will be a clear violation of the principle of devolution and a violation of the 13 th.Amendment of the constitution which devolves powers to the provinces. Instead of appointing a Special Officer, he should have said that he will give the Provincial Council greater powers and more funds to make it function meaningfully,” the NPC member said.
“Clearly, the underlying purpose of Wickremesinghe’s our of the North was to promote his own party, the United National Party (UNP). Tamil MPs from the UNP were in the forefront at the PM’s functions in the North,” the member further said.
Wickremesinghe and Chief Minister Wigneswaran have not been meeting or talking to each other for long. It all began with Wigneswaran publicly criticizing the Prime Minister’ uncle and nephew, and allowing the NPC to pass a resolution accusing Colombo of subjecting Tamils to a “genocide’ since 1948. Wickremesinghe retorted by calling Wigneswaran a “liar” and saying that the Western nation’s vote face on the war crimes issue was a “slap on the face of Wigneswaran”.