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Mahinda-Mangala patch up on cards

The Lankan president is making subtle efforts to reach out to the sacked foreign minister, reports PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2007 16:31 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the sacked Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera may patch up following Rajapaksa's subtle efforts to reach out to the latter, political sources say.

Last week, Rajapaksa prevented the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena from dispatching a charge sheet to Samaraweera.

A charge sheet leading to dismissal could have resulted in Samaraweera's losing his seat in parliament, the only office he is presently holding.

Some say that the charge sheet was not delivered because Samaraweera's mother was very ill and in hospital in Singapore. But most see in it a subtle political message to Samaraweera.

The president however is very keen on punishing Samaraweera's associate, the sacked Deputy Minister for Ports Development, Sripathi Sooriyarachchi.

Sooriyarachchi is presently languishing in prison in a case of misappropriation of government property which is a non-bailable offence.

Rajapaksa did not prevent the party General Secretary from serving a charge sheet to Sooriyarachchi.

It is learnt that the President is very angry with Sooriyarachchi for making serious charges against him both in the past and at present.

Most recently, he had told parliament and the media that during the Presidential campaign in December 2005, Rajapaksa's campaign managers had paid SLRs 200 million to the LTTE to secure its support.

While Sooriyarachchi has been shooting his mouth, Samaraweera has been quiet.

Samaraweera has also resisted the temptation to heed the call of the opposition United National Party (UNP) to join its campaign against the Rajapaksa government.

Samaraweera's reluctance is partly due to his links with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The JVP is alienated from Rajapaksa but it will not envisage or tolerate any link up with the UNP, its enemy number one.

Political circles feel that Samaraweera's political isolation may eventually make him catch the bait Rajapaksa is dangling before him.