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Indian Tamil parties join Sri Lankan cabinet

The Ceylon Workers' Congress and its rival Up Country's People's Front joined the cabinet months after pledging support to the Govt.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 14:59 IST

Two Indian Tamil parties joined the Sri Lankan cabinet on Friday, months after pledging support to the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) party and its rival Up Country's People's Front (UPF) joined the cabinet.

The CWC, a political party of Tamils of recent Indian origin, was given one cabinet position and two deputy ministries.

Party leader Arumugam Thondaman was sworn in as minister of Youth Empowerment for Social Economic Development.

Two members of the CWC were sworn in as deputy ministers for Estate Infrastructure (Muthu Sivalingam) and deputy minister of education (M Sachiththanandan).

UPF's leader P Chandrasekaran was sworn in as Minister of Social Equity while his other MP Radakrishnan was made deputy minister of Social Services.

The UPF has only two MPs in the 225-member parliament and the party is a break away faction of the CWC.

The two Tamil parties representing mainly the plantation sector Tamils in the central part of the country would dilute the power of the Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front.

President Rajapaksa had invited the JVP too to take cabinet positions and support his government from inside.

The JVP, which currently supports the government from outside wanted Rajapaksa to fulfil 20 demands including the expulsion of Norway as a peace broker and the abrogation of a truce with Tiger rebels.

The government has rejected both key demands of the JVP, but talks are still underway to get the JVP to join the government, party officials said.

The JVP is opposed to any power sharing with minority Tamils.

First Published: Aug 25, 2006 14:59 IST