Northern Province Governor Reginold Cooray challenged Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran to prove his majority support in the Northern Provincial Council before the ‘No Confidence’ motion against him is passed.
A deadlock emerged Wednesday night when Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) – the main Constituent Party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by C.V.K Sivagnanam submitted the ‘No Confidence’ Motion signed by 21 Councillors, including four Ministers, stating that the Chief Minister had ‘unnecessarily caused inconvenience’ by attempting to remove two of their Provincial Ministers namely P. Ayngaranesan and T. Kurukularajah.
The Chief Minister called for their voluntary resignation over alleged financial frauds against them and also demanded another two Provincial Ministers to go on ‘compulsory leave’ pending a probe into allegations against them which the ITAK Leader says was ‘against their wish and party rule’.
Governor Cooray told Ceylon Today the matter is ‘serious’ as it is the governing body of the Northern Province and it has come to a point at which he will have to decide the fate of the Chief Minister after listening to both Parties.
The ITAK said that since they have a majority of 21 persons, signing the ‘No Confidence’ Motion in a council of 38 members, and so This needs to be considered officially and a new Chief Minister needs to be appointed.
However, the Governor said he has to verify the signatures on the affidavit and would then ‘give a chance’ to the Chief Minister to prove his strength in the Council. “If the Chief Minister has a majority favouring him in the Council, there would be no disruption in the ruling and Wigneswaran would continue functioning as the Chief Minister. However, if he fails to prove such a majority support, as a Governor, I will follow the Constitutional procedures and Council’s rules and appoint a new Chief Minister.
ITAK Leader C.V.K. Sivagnanam told Ceylon Today that 21 members signed the ‘No Confidence’ Motion and he would take it further because they have ‘immense problems’ with the Chief Minister’s working style in that he does not cooperate or consult the Party leader.
“He does not consult us. I told him not to remove the two ministers without the Party’s consent, but he went ahead appointing a probe committee and submitted the report to the Governor. This is against the Party’s Constitution,” he said.
When the Governor met ITAK members in his office, Wednesday, he told them to ink claims against the Chief Minister along with the affidavit and assured them that he would also listen to the Chief Minister’s response on the matter.
In the meantime, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan rushed to the TNA office at Martin Road, Jaffna, to meet ITAK Councillors over their ‘No Confidence’ Motion.
Apparently Sampanthan had wanted ITAK to drop the motion and over the phone urged Wigneswaran to come to an agreement – to probe the accusations against the two Ministers without sending them on ‘conditional leave’.
The Jaffna University Students’ Union has extended its support to Wigneswaran and has expressed appreciation of his fight against corruption and abuse of power. People protesting against ITAK’s decision to remove Wigneswaran marched into the Chief Ministers’ residence yesterday. Wigneswaran assured them that he will ‘always be with them and work for them’.