Pillayan, Karuna meet to heal rift

By Chris Kamalendran

Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan and TMVP leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna are to meet in Colombo to resolve a widening rift in the party, including a recent attack on a newly set up pro-Karuna office in Batticaloa.

Both, Mr. Chandrakanthan and Mr. Muralitharan said yesterday the meeting would be aimed at what they called restructuring their party and ‘ironing out differences”.

Karuna Pillayan

It will be the second meeting between the two one-time-friends-turned foes after Mr. Muralitharan returned to Sri Lanka two months ago from Britain where he served a six-month jail term for violating immigration laws.

The meeting comes amidst a series of conflicts in the party, including a proposal by Karuna to bring his loyalists into the party hierarchy. But Pillayan delayed taking action on the proposal. At present the TMVP’s policymaking Central Committee is known to have only one Karuna loyalist.

In a development of the rift, Karuna loyalists on Wednesday set up their own office in Batticaloa town, adjoining the TMVP office. But the new office came under a grenade attack the same day. The next day about 40 cadres, some of them armed, were deployed to guard the new Karuna office.

In another development, two senior TMVP members – Eastern Provincial Councillor Edwin Silva alias Pradeep Master and Jeyam -- have decided to work with Karuna.

Meanwhile Karuna has accused two Pillayan loyalists -- TMVP spokesman Azad Moulana and a defeated Provincial Council candidate Nandagopan Kumaraswamy of making a secret visit to India to establish links with state agencies.

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