|Sunday, 15 February 2004|
The battle of the Diyawanawa : The scramble begins ...
The shutters are up at the supreme club surrounded by the Diyawannawa. How many of the former members woke up on Sunday to find that they had been stripped of all their perks and privileges that went with membership over there, we do not know. It was only a matter of time when the inevitable would happen.
And now the battle lines are drawn for the stakes are high. The new configuration - United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is no doubt the cynosure and occupies centre stage gathering momentum by the day. Key members have fanned out to their respective strongholds to amass their forces. Even some of those contacted pleaded urgent engagements. All this frenzied activity meant that nominations for the 13th Parliament were being worked at with vigour and the bigwigs had hit the campaign trail.
UPFA Secretary, that amiable figure Mr. Susil Premajayanth, was totally immersed finalising nominations in the wake of a flood of hopefuls. That alone indicates the turn of the tide. The number of seats for the JVP has already been agreed upon.
The reality was that there was a massive surge of support for the SLFP-JVP alliance. Already the MEP, NUA, SLMP, DVJP, have strengthened and broadened the power base of this new force that is gaining ascendancy by the day. SLFP top ranker and former Opposition Leader, Mahinda Rajapakse also confirmed that several discussions had taken place with the LSSP and CP and he was hopeful that they will be with them on the Alliance stage.
In the other camp, the UNF is likely to lose the support of the SLMC at the forthcoming election. The UNF at several meetings with the SLMC leader had been unable to win its support and the Muslim Congress will be contesting alone. The SLMC leader has realised that he should work in the interests of the Muslim community and not on his own preference.
The remarks by LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham as well as several LTTE stalwarts that they were ready to talk with any stable government which comes to power at the election was a positive omen and at the same time it also became a hard slap to several NGOs and parties claiming that the peace process will be blocked with the dissolution of Parliament.
America's support for any government which comes to power had been confirmed last week. Indian High Commissioner had also announced that India would not involve Sri Lanka's internal political matters accepting the President's decision to go for elections to select a stable Parliament.
A committee to work on maintenance and implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement had been agreed by SLMM Chief Maj. Gen. Trond Furuhovde in a discussion with the President last week. The proposed committee will comprise Defence Ministry Secretary, three Service Commanders, a Peace Secretariat representative and several representatives from the SLMM. Regular briefings to the President and Prime Minister and peace related issues will have to be conducted by the committee.
The caretaker government Information Minister Kadirgamar called for common media standards at the general elections extending his hand of friendship to the media last week. Most are of the view that he will be able to do a good job as he is an honest, sincere and experienced politician.
Meanwhile, both Sinhala and English newspapers have attacked the impression created by a foreign media institute that Sri Lanka was not in need of an early election.
The newspapers have pointed out that it is the indigenous people who know the necessity of a stable government more than anyone else to find a concrete solution to the country's burning problem over two decades.
Some mischievous elements appear to have got cracking on their pet scare mongering campaign.
A single page 17 point document claiming to be economic and fiscal policies of the SLFP-JVP Alliance indication a complete return to statisation of the economy is doing the rounds.
Produced by Lake House