CWC heavyweight R. Yogarajan yesterday indicated that the split with the ruling coalition was permanent.
`We have no intention to return,` the former MP told The Island, rejecting reports that the party politburo had demanded a public apology from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to facilitate a re-marriage. `In fact, we have no right to demand an apology,` he said.
CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman and Deputy Ministers Muttu Sivalingam, Jegadeswaran, Sachithanandan and M.S. Sellasamy quit last Thursday
Yogarajan said that they had no dispute with the President. `We decided to quit the government and that decision remains,` he emphasized. They had already returned government vehicles.
Accusing senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa of causing the break-up, he recalled that Basil Rajapaksa was responsible for the government-CWC marriage. Fielding questions, he said that they did not even want a public apology from Basil Rajapaksa.
According to him, Deputy Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had poisoned Basil Rajapaksa`s mind over a recent statement attributed to Muttu Sivalingam. Aluthgamage and CWC Financial Secretary Sivalingam had clashed over the commissioning of an estate electricity project. Sivalingam had wanted to commission it on the basis that he allocated funds for the project as the minister in charge of the estate infrastructure portfolio during President Chandrika Kumaratunga`s administration. Aluthgamage had opposed this as the estate was situated in his electorate, Yogarajan said.
But with Basil Rajapaksa`s blessings, Sivalingam had formally opened the project recently. According to him, Aluthgamage had misrepresented Sivalingam`s speech in which he emphasized that no one else had the right to commission the project as he had allocated the funds. Yogarajan claimed that Basil Rajapaksa was under the impression that Sivalingam had made derogatory remarks on the President. Had he bothered to clarify our position, the CWC would not have quit the government. `We were treated shabbily,` he said. But he dismissed reports that Basil Rajapaksa had made derogatory remarks. `That was not true.`
Thondaman and Sivalingam had met Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday morning to explore the possibility of clearing 20 units of V-sat equipment ordered by the Thondaman foundation. The equipment is used to transmit e-mail, voice messages and video. The CWC had wanted to clear the consignment without paying duty. Yogarajan, who joined the discussion at Basil Rajapaksa`s office, said that Rajapaksa was their link. He brought us to the government and we used to work through him. The CWC leadership had been furious over the delay in releasing the consignment.
The Island learns that both President Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa had talked to Muttu Sivalingam in a bid to sort out the issue. A well informed source asserted that they could resolve the misunderstanding. He acknowledged that Sivalingam`s speech made in Tamil had been translated and given to Basil Rajapaksa. Speculation is that the translation is not accurate.