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Last updated: 20 April, 2008 - Published 15:15 GMT
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Prelate urges JVP unity
Wimal Weerawansa (R) with Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thero (photo Elmo Fernando)
Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake thero urged Weerawansa faction to re-join the JVP or support Rajapaksa government

The most senior Buddhist Mahanayake thero in Sri Lanka has urged dissidents of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to re-join with the party.

Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake thero urged JVP dissident group to join the government if they split from the party.

JVP parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa, together with nine other JVP legislators, visited Kandy to get blessings from the Buddhist Mahanayakes after splitting from the party.

New 'Patriotic front'

Responding to the plea by Mahanayake thero, Mr. Weerawansa said his group has no intention to join Mahinda Rajapaksa government.

“We hope to get the party back to the right track. Failing that, we believe, we have the courage and energy to create a new patriotic path,” he told Mahanayake thero of Malwatta chapter.

Wimal Weerawansa and Piyasiri Wijenayake (R) with Udugama Sri Dhammarakkhitha Mahanayake Thero (photo Elmo Fernando)
Ten JVP dissidents say they have the courage and energy to create a 'new patriotic front' in Sri Lanka

The dissident group also visited Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanayake thero of Asgiriya chapter.

Addressing journalists after the visits, the dissident group said they have no intention to join with the government, the main opposition or any other force.

As the JVP leadership has failed to fulfil the “real concerns of the nation”, Mr .Weerawansa said, the group’s expectations of getting back to the JVP are gradually fading away.

UNP accused

He accused the United National Party (UNP) and “a UNP leader in Kotte” of conspiring to divide the JVP.

Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake is UNP’s chief organiser in Kotte.

Ravi Karunanayake
Mr. Karunanayake denies playing any role in the JVP split

Mr. Karunanayake earlier told BBC Sandeshaya that he had no involvement in the JVP split.

The JVP dissidents also called on the party leadership to expel the “small group” that conspired with the UNP, if the leadership is seriously considering getting the dissidents back into the JVP.

In a special statement to the parliament on 08 April, Wimal Weerawansa accused the leadership of “shooting him from behind” and trying to expel him from the JVP.

Categorically denying any move to expel him, leader Somawansa Amerasinghe told journalists that a disciplinary action was underway against the Propaganda Secretary.

The JVP is yet to reveal the details of the accusations in full.

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