|UNP district leaders advised
Not a hum about LTTE at last years poll meetings, says Anura
Bandaranaike, who led the UNP list for Gampaha last year, said that at a UNP district leaders meeting, he and other main candidates had been advised not to say "a word" against the LTTE.
He was speaking at a PA press conference at the Government Information Department.
"At all meetings I addressed for the UNP, I maintained firmly that there was no LTTE link with the party because I sincerely believed that there was no such thing," he said.
Now, UNP members are questioning him about why he was now accusing the UNP of having links with the LTTE when he didnt say anything last year. "Its simply because last year I didnt know," he said.
Responding to queries on a recent statement by him that parliament would be dissolved if the PA loses at the election, Bandaranaike said the reference had been to a speech he gave recently before a gathering of Sri Lanka Freedom Party lawyers.
He said that he had been explaining the constitutional position which applies when the opposition obtains a parliamentary majority. According to the constitution, the President cannot be removed except by a two-thirds majority. She has the power to make important appointments. He pointed out that there would be a constitutional catastrophe between the executive and legislature where parliament was hostile to the President. Even in such a situation, the President can dissolve parliament in one year. This is the constitutional position provided by former president J. R. Jayewardene, he said.
Bandaranaike claimed that the Tamil National Alliance would support the UNP to make Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister. The TNAs only hope was to make Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister. He said that Joseph Pararajasingham, TNA candidate for Batticaloa district, had given a speech at the Batticaloa Kachcheri in which he was very supportive of the opposition leader. "Why does the TNA suddenly love Ranil so much ? What have they been promised?" he questioned.
He claimed that one of the voices on a taped telephone conversation which hints of a UNP link with the LTTE was the voice of UNP parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardene.
Commenting on recent remarks made by S. B. Dissanayake at a press conference, Bandaranaike said that he had indeed lost a number of elections but that this was while his mother, and not he, was the leader of the SLFP. "I only played a boundary role," he claimed. "But the UNP has lost nine elections under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. Surely S.B. must hold Ranil responsible for those defeats". Dissanayake had said that the side which Bandaranaike joins usually loses.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) also addressed the media. Dr. K. Vigneswaran said the LTTE and TNA were obstructing their campaign in the North in order to secure a place in parliament for members of the LTTE.
Vigneswaran said that although the TNA was able to go to LTTE-held areas and campaign in many parts of the North and East including Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee and even Vavuniya, EPDP cadres were unable to conduct their election campaign due to threats from the LTTE.
"If we cant canvass in some areas, how is it that they (TNA) can, unless they have a Memorandum of Understanding with the LTTE," he said.
He said that the TNA did not have a policy on a political solution for the NE problem, but was expecting to enter parliament and insist to whichever party in power that they talk with the LTTE.
"What they are really saying is "we are the proxies for the LTTE, please vote for us" but they wont say it direct because they wont get the support of the Tamil people," Dr. Vigneswaran said.
"Every name in the TNA list had to be approved by the big boss in Vanni," he said adding, "This election is a life or death matter for the LTTE. If they cannot come in through the TNA their days are numbered".
He said the LTTE had plans to prevent people from casting their vote as they had done during previous elections and to stuff the ballot boxes themselves.
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