Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda had alleged that the Deputy Chairperson of Committees of Parliament Angajan Ramanathan had threatened Jaffna based civil servants.
The allegations are made, as a close aide of Angajan Ramanathan had sought the approval of the District Secretary of Kilinochchi Mrs. Rupavathy Ketheeswaran to have a meeting with Samurdhi beneficiaries in the district. It is noteworthy that Ramanathan is the Co-Chair of the District Coordinating Committee (DCC) of Jaffna, while Devananda is the Co-Chair of the DCC of Kilinochchi (both administrative districts are one electoral district).
Speaking to the Island Newspaper, Ramanathan said “Minister Devananda wanted to organize an event for Samurdhi recipients in the Jaffna district. As Minister Devananda represented Kilinochchi DCC, he sought Jaffna DCC approval to conduct a programme in the Jaffna district.” We have reliably learned that this request was welcomed and the Minister was allowed to proceed.
What actually happened?
The District Secretary of Kilinochchi Mrs. Rupavathy Ketheeswaran had informed Mr Ramanathan’s secretary that she will consult with the secretary of Minister Devananda and get back to him. However, Minister Devananda’s secretary had strongly opposed this request.
Minister Devananda having been misled to do so or of his own volition, stated that Mr Ramanathan’s coordinators are threatening civil servants (i.e: the District Secretary of Kilinochchi).
After the remarks of Minister Devananda had been picked up by the anti government media, looking to exploit any differences. Mrs Ketheeswaran had phoned a close aide of Ramanathan and stated that she was disappointed that the issue was being made political and she had reaffirmed that she did not agree with the Minister’s statement.
Reasons for the rift?
We inquired from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Pradeshiya Sabha members in Jaffna, the reasons for the rift. They claim that Minister Devananda had been the sole representative opposed to the TNA faction until Ramanathan’s entry to politics in 2010. Ramanathan’s vote bank had been gradually increasing ever since and is as follows:
|2010 General Elections (not elected)||3,416|
|2013 Provincial Council Elections||10,034|
|2015 General Elections (not elected, but included in the UPFA National List)||17,400|
|2020 General Elections||36,365|
Ramanathan shocked all political analysts and pundits by becoming the first SLFP member to secure a parliamentary seat from Jaffna. Not only did he win, he secured the highest number of preferential votes. The SLFP secured 49,373 votes in the Jaffna District and it is safe to say that all those votes were for Angajan Ramanathan, as SLFP had no base whatsoever in Jaffna. It is also noted that this vote bank is higher than that secured by the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).
This surprised all of Ramanathan’s political opponents, including Minister Devananda who is a senior politician and his EPDP, who have been in active parliamentary politics for over 27 years. It is also rumored that Minister Devananda had lashed out at his organisers in Jaffna after Ramanathan’s resounding victory.
Speaking to the Island Newspaper, Ramanathan said that “a dispute between government members would be exploited by rival political parties. The last general election changed the political environment in the northern and eastern provinces, MP Ramanathan said, underscoring the pivotal importance in the government taking advantage of the ground situation to improve living standards of the people.”