Karuna snubbed for TMVP convention

Founder of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) Karuna Amman was a notable absentee at the first delegate’s convention of the TMVP held in Batticaloa over the weekend.

The current leader of the TMVP and Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, presided over the convention where over ten thousand members of the party participated.

Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the occasion while Minister of Provincial Council and Local Government A.L.M. Athaulla, Coconut Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara, Deputy Minister M.L.A.M. Hisbullah and Parliamentarian Faizal Cassim and Sriyani Wijewickrema were also present.

There was no reason given for Karuna Amman’s absence but it was believed it had something to do with the longstanding rift between him and Chandrakanthan.

The TMVP was formed by Karuna Amman after he defected from the LTTE in 2004.

The TMVP has been affected by internal struggles between Karuna and Pillaiyan for several years. Small skirmishes broke out between the Pillaiyan and Karuna factions with some fatalities in May 2007, October 2007 and in May 2008.

In mid-October 2008, Karuna cadres ransacked the office of Pillaiyan, leading to the government intervention.

As tensions flared up in late 2009, the government began putting restrictions on the placement of TMVP political signs in cities of the East.