The JVP would go all out to isolate Wimal Weerawansa as the party felt there was no point in seeking a negotiated settlement to the crisis triggered by the high profile dissident, well informed party sources said.
`We can t turn a blind eye to his private deal with the Rajapaksa administration, this source said. `They want to run the JVP by remote control through Weerawansa, We can t ignore the threat posed to the party by government strategists.
He claimed the break between Weerawansa and the party was permanent. The majority of MPs who had sided with the dissident leader would return to the fold. He was confident that Weerawansa`s challenge would collapse before the Parliament resumes on May 6.
At the moment nine MPs have accepted Weerawansa`s leadership with Nandana Gunatilleke, MP, who quit the party earlier, too, extending his support.
A JVP official told The Sunday Island that 10 of the party s 37-member parliamentary group had challenged its authority. He said their parliamentary strength was reduced to 37 after Kalutara District MP Nandana Gunatilleke switched allegiance to the government.
The official said Weerawansa`s absence in their campaign for the first ever election to the Eastern Provincial Council on May 10 and the remanding of Trincomalee District MP Jayantha Wijesekera due to actions of the dissident group would be a huge black mark on Weerawansa.
The JVP would hold two public rallies at Ampara (April 20) and Kantalai (April 22), he said, accusing the dissidents of helping to keep Wijesekera who would have led their campaign in the Trincomalee District, behind bars.
The JVP has also set the date for the fifth Party Convention for May 27 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium as the party moved swiftly to clip Weerawansa`s wings.
The Sunday Island learns the party will zero in on Piyasiri Wijenayake and Jayantha Samaraweera (both Kalutara District MPs) and Achala Suranga Jagodage (Ratnapura District) for their role in Weerawansa`s bid to capture the party. Interestingly all three Kalutara District JVP representatives have now challenged the party, the sources said.
The JVP had been furious with Wijenayake for trying to get signatures of other dissidents to a petition the Secretary General of Parliament requesting him to stop paying their monthly salaries to the JVP. The JVP said this attempt was made from the Borella headquarters of the Patriotic National Front (PNM) on April 8.
Meanwhile, pro-JVP Lanka in its latest issue launched a scathing attack on Weerawansa. The April 20 issue (usually out on Friday but this week`s issue was available only on Saturday) came down hard on Weerawansa This signaled that the weekly to which Weerawansa was an important contributor and other JVP media would not in anyway compromise the party line to appease the dissident MP, a one-time favourite of the paper.
In an interview with Lanka, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva direcly accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of triggering the crisis. Silva said, `President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s government is behind this problem. They wanted to JVP MPs in their pockets. Instead of taking a few ministerial portfolios, we put forwarded a 20-point plan to the government. But the government attempted to manipulate the party through Wimal.`
In his hard hitting interview Silva, who had been in Italy when Weerawansa fired his first salvo, accused Weerawansa of revealing their strategy to the President thereby giving the government an opportunity to successfully counter the JVP.
Silva also acknowledged the possibiity of the SLFP-led ruling coalition controlling the party through Weerawansa in the past. He asserted the government engineered the revolt believing Weerawansa would be able to break-up the party.
Silva also dismissed assertion that Weerawansa depature would cripple the party. Acknowledging Weerawansa`s contribution to the party, the JVP secretary who is not an MP, said Weerawansa wasn`t the JVP. His absence would not be a major setback to a party that had survived the assassination of Rohana Wijeweera and the entire politburo except Somawansa Amarasinghe during the second insurgency.
Having survived two bloody crackdowns in 1971 and 1987-1990, the JVP wouldn`t collapse due to Weerawansa`s departure which Silva asserted was of the MP`s own making.