The absence of former Eastern province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) during a visit to Batticaloa yesterday by a government delegation including some Ministers and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has been termed as a non issue by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP).
TMVP spokesman Azad Maulana told the Colombo Gazette that TMVP leader Chandrakanthan did not attend the meeting as the meeting was purely on development issues organized by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) which is headed by the Defence Secretary.
“Mr. Chandrakanthan is no more the Chief Minister so there was no need for him to attend that meeting,” Maulana said.
Asked if his absence was an indication that he has been sidelined by the government, Maulana said that there was no basis to reach such a conclusion.
Last week some local newspapers had reported that Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan was not likely to be re-appointed as Chief Minister for the Eastern Province in the event the government wins the local council elections in the area next month.
The news reports said that the government was likely to back a nominee of Deputy Minister Vinayargamurthi Muralitharan as the new Chief Minister.
Incidentally Vinayargamurthi Muralitharan was among those who attended and addressed the meeting in Batticaloa yesterday.
Minister of Petroleum Industries Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of National Integration Vinayargamurthi Muralitharan, Deputy Minister M L A M Hizbullah, Government Agent of Batticaloa District Charles, Chairman of the Urban Development Authority Nimal Perera, Mayor of Batticaloa Sivageetha Prabaharan, Deputy Mayor and many officials from various public and private sector institutions attended the meeting.