In a show of solidarity, the hierarchy of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) came together on Sunday morning to scoff at reports that an internal crisis were brewing within the party, and party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake was facing the axe.
Addressing the media in Colombo, JVP leader Dissanayake said that a group with vested interests, and with links to the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Joint Opposition was spreading a mud-slinging campaign against the JVP, because they were ‘frustrated’ as they no longer enjoyed privileges since the change of government last year.
“There is no split within the JVP,” Dissanayake said.
He also claimed that the Divaina newspaper, which is owned by Kumar Welgama’s brother, Nimal, along with several others from the newspaper are behind the mudslinging campaign due to their frustration. “The Divaina is now a rag sheet, and they have not adhered to any media ethics while reporting such blatant lies,” he said.
According to Dissanayake, Nimal Welgama who owns the Divaina was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom, under Rajapaksa’s regime. “So it’s obvious they are all exasperated because they no longer enjoy the perks and privileges they used to enjoy, so now they are resorting to such third class cheap tactics of mud-slinging,” he said.
Dissanayake also said that Anura Solomon, the chief editor of ‘Irida Divaina’ also functioned as an advisor to Rajapaksa, while the journalist, Janitha Seneviratne who wrote the article for the newspaper which was published on Sunday under the title ‘A change to the JVP leadership, who will be the next leader? Tilvin or Lalkantha’ was employed at one of the organisations which came under the Port Authority during Rajapaksa’s regime. “Janitha Seneviratne used to sign his attendance for the entire month on one day, but never reported to work, and he was sacked in March 2015 due to his failure to report to work,” he said.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the main aim of the mud-slinging campaign was to dupe the people, and keep the JVP from carrying out its important work whilst sitting in the Opposition. JVP Member K. D. Lalkantha said that just like where some politicians were becoming a pile of garbage, even certain sections of the media were suffering this same fate. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath openly challenged those to prove if true that there was an internal crisis within the party.
According to the Divaina news report, one of the main reasons for the internal crisis was Dissanayake’s trip to Ireland recently, while there were also several others issues within the party, including some monetary related issues in relation to a bank account.
Meanwhile, Tilvin Silva also said that the party was looking at the possibility of taking legal action against the Irida Divaina for publishing articles without substance.