The strength of ruling coalition headed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) hit a dangerous low on Thursday, when the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), a party of Indian Origin Tamils (IOT), said that it had quit the government in protest against being “insulted and taken for granted”.
When the five CWC MPs left, the coalition government’s strength came down to 112 in a house of 225 making it a “minority” government, a senior leader of the CWC, Yogarajan, said.
He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother and “Presidential Advisor” Basil Rajapaksa, had “shouted at and insulted” the Deputy Minister for Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure, Muthu Sivalingam, a very senior CWC leader.
According to Yogarajan, Basil Rajapaksa, had completely denied any role played by the CWC in a particular prestigious project and even handed over a sheet of paper to Sivalingam to pen his resignation if he wanted to resign in protest.
Yogarajan said that President Rajapaksa had tried to make amends by meeting the CWC supreme, Arumugam Thondaman, but to no avail.
“The minorities are being taken for granted by the Sinhala-oriented government,” Yogarajan said. “There is no chance of us coming back,” he asserted.
CWC base shrinking
The CWC’s main bases are the tea and rubber estates of Central and southern Sri Lanka where most of the workers are Indian Origin Tamils.
The Sinhala parties like the SLFP, the United National Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) are trying too make inroads into this and decimate the Tamil-speaking CWC politically. This explains Basil Rajapaksa’s conduct. The cabinet minister for Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure is President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself. And his brother is said to be the de-facto minister.