Only LTTE can clarify Prabhakaran’s decision

PRABAHERAN 2by Shamindra Ferdinando

JHU General Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka, MP, says the LTTE rump should be asked whether it had received payment from the then Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa Camp in the run-up to Nov. 17, 2005 presidential election.

Referring to a statement made by an Opposition MP (not a UNPer), UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, said that the LTTE had facilitated Rajapaksa’s victory by depriving UNP presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe of Tamil voters in the Northern Province. Rajapaksa alleged that the government was making an attempt to discourage Tamil voters in the run-up to January 8, 2014 presidential election.

Ranawaka and Rajapakshe were addressing the media on Sunday (Dec 14) at Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign office at Havelock Road.

They side-stepped The Island query whether they believed the LTTE had paved the way for its own annihilation by facilitating Premier Rajapaksa’s win.

Asked to explain why the UNP remained silent in spite of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) ordering Tamil voters on behalf of the LTTE not to exercise their franchise at the 2005 presidential poll, MP Rajapakshe said that he dealt with the UPFA-LTTE deal at their 2013 annual convention. National List MP Rajapakshe had been with the UPFA at the time of the 2005 presidential poll. Rajapaske switched his allegiance to the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in Dec 2009.

MP Ranawaka asserted that the LTTE hadn’t been keen to support any particular party at presidential elections. The MP recalled the LTTE declaration that its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was both President and Prime Minister of Tamil Eelam.

The JHU heavyweight said that people should be given the freedom to exercise their franchise freely. MP Ranawaka urged intelligence services not to interfere with the electoral process. “We request armed forces not to engage in activity that’ll harm their reputation.”

Asked whether the Maithripala Sirisena’s Camp was seeking the backing of the TNA, MP Ranawaka said that the forthcoming poll wasn’t meant to tackle specific problems faced by Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim communities.

MP Ranawaka accused the government of denying the electorate a peaceful election by mobilizing the entire state machinery to help incumbent president Rajapaksa secure a third term. Although there had been no big bombs and bodies on roads, the government was mounting pressure on the entire electorate, MP Ranawaka said. The government hadn’t even spared places of religious worship, the MP said, adding that the country was facing an uncertain future due to crisis caused by the government.

MP Ranawaka warned unless the electorate got rid of the Rajapaksas, the international community could isolate the country. There could be a catastrophe unless there was a change of Sri Lanka’s leadership, he said.

UNP reformist and attorney-at-law Shiral Lakthilake said that there had been 34 incidents so far in the run-up to the poll. Perpetrators of ten of those incidents had used bomb and guns, Lakthilake said.

Commenting on the police department receiving Rs. 50 mn from Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to remove posters and other propaganda material, Lakthilake regretted that taxpayers money was being squandered. The former Western Provincial Council member alleged that those struggling to make ends meet had to bear the burden, whereas the government and its cronies spent ill-gotten money for the ongoing campaign.