Sarath Fonseka refuses to criticize Ranil

3 October 2012 06:30 pm - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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by Kelum Bandara
The events unfolding after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month, suggest that the issue of power devolution is coming into the limelight again. Shortly after the visit, the Indian government invited the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to New Delhi on October 10, obviously to discuss the national question in Sri Lanka and the way forward.

The talks between the government and the TNA in pursuit of a power devolution arrangement has been deadlocked since January this year, due to different claims by the two sides.  The ruling party insists that the TNA should nominate its members to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to work out a solution acceptable to all the parties in the House. Yet, the TNA has a different view in this case.   For them, the bipartisan dialogue should continue till a common understanding is reached.  Later, the proposals agreed on can be forwarded for review by the other parties, they say.  These two opposing viewpoints have kept the two sides away from the negotiation table.


" Shortly after the President returned, India officially invited the TNA for talks in New Delhi "


Yet, during the past few weeks, fresh attempts were made to revive the stalled talks.  It is reported in the media that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his meeting with President Rajapaksa,   reiterated the need to find a political solution.  Shortly after the President returned, India officially invited the TNA for talks in New Delhi. It is manifest in the new political development that India is making renewed attempts to bring about a political solution for the minority Tamils, no matter how much it resonates here.

Since the Government of Sri Lanka considers the PSC the best available forum to evolve a solution, India has reportedly asked the TNA to participate in its deliberations.  However, it is learnt that the TNA has acceded to this request eventually on the condition that India stands by it and gets something done this time.  Against this backdrop, the four –member delegation headed by leader R. Sampanthan is to undertake a visit to India on October 10, 2012.

GL and Rauff meet Blake
Besides this, United States Assistant Secretary of States Robert O. Blake, on Monday, met External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem separately in New York. The implementation of recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the political solution, and the alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the war were among the topics discussed.
Blake, in particular, has asked about the steps taken to address the accountability issues. He has also inquired about the progress in the investigations into allegations, International Humanitarian lLaw violations during the final days of the war in 2009.

During the meeting, Mr. Hakeem had said that the Parliamentary Select Committee was the best forum to work out political proposals. He had told him that the Muslim dimension to the problem should be considered in the evolution of a solution, and the PSC should be a venue for that.
“Talking to the TNA alone will not suffice though they insist on it.  Our grievances have to be looked into,” he told Mr. Blake.
Also, the Minister took this opportunity to register his protest with the US government over the anti-Islam video.
“This video has hurt the sentiments of Sri Lanka Muslims,” he said.  
Amid renewed pressure for a political solution from international forces, local politics is slated to be inflamed again with anti-western diatribe.


"It appears to be a silent protest against the appointment of Mr. Ranjith as chief minister."


JVP to hold seminars
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a party opposed to such international involvement in local affairs, has decided to start a series of seminars. The party intends to inform the general public about what it has termed ‘attempts by western imperialist   forces’ to impose a power devolution package based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
The first of these will be held in Colombo on October 10.



SF refuses to criticise Ranil
Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka had a meeting with a group of UNP MPs on the formation of a common opposition forum. The meeting took place at the temple of Ven. Ulapane Sumangala Thera, in Narahenpita.
At one point, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Jayantha Ketagoda told Mr. Fonseka, “Sir, some MPs want you to criticise the UNP leadership if they are to join the opposition forum led by you.”
Mr. Fonseka replied bluntly, “We have to take on the government which is the common enemy. Other than that, there is no point in slandering those in the Opposition. The government should be the target, not anyone in the opposition. “


" We have to take on the government which is the common enemy "


UPFA rift widens
The rift that emerged in the UPFA over the appointment of the North Central Province Chief Minister was visible on October 2. Former Chief Minister Berti Premalal Dissanayake who aspired to be The Chief Minister for the fourth consecutive term has been compelled to be content with only a ministerial post in the council.  Yet he seems to have a support base among the UPFA members. When the new Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith walked in, these members who appeared to be the loyalists of Mr. Dissanayake did not rise from their seats. Yet, they did so when Mr. Dissanayake entered.  It appears to be a silent protest against the appointment of Mr. Ranjith as chief minister.
Mr. Dissanayake occupied a seat in the last row of the council, and was seen chatting with his colleagues.

Mervyn raises identity politics
Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva took an indirect swipe at an MP on identity politics. Addressing a function in Digampataha, Sigiriya, the Minister said a politician who should be carrying a drum, had become an MP.
“I do not resent it. It is a communist policy,” he said.
Though there are instances where politicians become victims of identity politics on the caste issue, it is hardly discussed in public forums or gatherings.  If anyone starts talking about it openly, it will be a trend setter for an indecent political culture already bogged down in a quagmire.


“I do not resent it. It is a communist policy "


Lack of preference for preferential system
The September 8 Provincial Council election also witnessed two killings, and it reawakened the cry for a change in the preferential system, in political circles.  One person was killed in Anuradhapura in intra party violence of the governing United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) whereas another one succumbed to injuries sustained in a similar clash between two groups of supporters of the United National Party (UNP).
Shortly after the election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during a casual interaction with a group of ministers, vowed to enact the two legislations which provide for the introduction of a mix of the first-past-the post system and the proportional representation system for local government votes.
Exulted by the move was Water Supply and Drainage Board Minister Dinesh Gunawardane, who oversaw the parliamentary select committee that evolved the new election system after several years of deliberations. The government placed it at the top on its agenda for the parliamentary week starting on October 9. Wide media publicity was given to the news.

But, local government members currently serving in various municipal and urban councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas are reportedly against the new system being enacted.  The proposed system, if enacted next week as announced by the President, would provide for the selection of 70 percent of the members of the local government bodies under the first-past-the post system, and the remaining 30 percent under the proportional representation system. Members will be elected to each ward to be created after a de-limitation process.  It will end the rivalry among members of different parties or within the same party for preferential votes -- at least to some extent.  

However, some local government members at the helm of affairs in their localities with their money and muscle power are perturbed by the new move.  They fear that their political power would be restricted to a limited area.

Dissension in TNA
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is an amalgam of five political parties- ITAK, TELO, PLOTE, EPRLF and TULF.
Of them, ITAK of R. Sampanthan, who is also the TNA leader, has much power within the alliance, and it is not to the liking of the other four parties.  These four parties had a meeting a few days ago and decided to push for the registration of the TNA as a well-knit political party.  These parties  are of the view that the ITAK leadership is not that keen to have the TNA registered as a political entity.

Of the 11 members elected to the Eastern Provincial Council under the TNA banner, seven are from the ITAK, two from TELO and one each from TULF and EPRLF. At the ceremony to swear in these members, EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran did not attend, as a mark of protest against the lackadaisical approach to registering the TNA.  Mr. Premachandran even issued a statement critical of the TNA’s approach to such issues.


" Of them, ITAK of R. Sampanthan, who is also the TNA leader, has much power within the alliance "
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  • laksiri Friday, 05 October 2012 01:31 PM

    many more jokers are joining the political leadership ,so we do not have to worry for any change of system which was running over 60 years of the nation.the maintain cost of total political leaders of the country will be more than ,the funds allocated to education health of the nation.we need more ministers,chief ministers and members to parliament to fulfill ,just to satisfied all the political parties not the people basis needs.next five years,total borrowing will exceed the national income and just interest payment will exceed the 25% of government income, so what to do,just cut education ,and public health to 0.

    Lional S. Friday, 05 October 2012 05:41 PM

    The need of the hour is not only a strong common opposition but the communities and masses to put the country back on track. Mere party politics will never solve the emerging issues as individually they are weak.

    Udurawana Friday, 05 October 2012 09:19 AM

    If SF refuses to criticize Ranil, its mean whatever wrong he does SF would indirectly accept? Is it inline with SF’s parching ?


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