The JVP leader once accused the SLFP of kerb-crawling. He could not have used a better term to describe what the two main parties usually resort to when an election draws near. They run behind even microscopic political entities. And the small parties, for their part, practise the oldest profession in the world! The JVP has offered its services to both the SLFP and the UNP at different times and is honeymooning with the UNP at present.
The SLFP is wooing the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which it hauled over the coals a few moons ago for being the LTTE's mouthpiece. The TNA's response to the SLFP's overtures is not yet known, but the government has amply demonstrated its kerb-crawling skills. How the SLFP, which has been campaigning on a platform of patriotism, will reconcile an electoral relationship it is striving to forge with the LTTE proxies, with its nationalistic outlook remains to be seen. The same goes for the TNA, which has been bitterly critical of the government and its war. Their coming together would amount to a humiliating self-contradiction on the part of both of them.
The unofficial alliance between the UNP and the JVP is a supreme irony. In 2005, the JVP threw its weight behind Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom it had tried to prevent from becoming Prime Minister only the previous year, and helped make him President as it wanted UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe defeated at any cost. Rathu Sahodarayas campaigned frantically against Wickremesinghe as if his election would lead to the Apocalypse!
Four years on, the JVP and Wickremesinghe have joined hands to defeat President Rajapaksa! Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who sacked the UNF government in 2004 and ruined Wickremesinghe's chances of becoming President the following year, now laments her action and finds herself in the company of Wickremesinghe!
President Rajapaksa praised and decorated Gen. Fonseka after the war and the latter sang hosannas for the former saying without proper political leadership the war could not have been won. But, today, they have fallen out.
The JVP refused to accept any Cabinet portfolios in the Rajapaksa government in spite of its contribution to his victory at the last presidential election, but Wickremesinghe has said Rathu Sahodarayas would be included in the Cabinet of a caretaker government to be formed in the event of the victory of the Opposition’s common presidential candidate. Worse, he says the TNA, too, would be part of the same Cabinet! Mum's the word on the part of the JVP on this statement.
The UNP scoffed at former Amy Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka's ability to lead the army. UNP MPs belittled him at every turn. When the army captured Thoppigala, UNP leader Wickremesinghe himself derided that historic victory. He said the army had liberated the area in vain as it was only a jungle. He questioned the wisdom of the Commander and asked whether he (the Commander) was even capable of reading the military map!
While the army was forging ahead in the Vanni, UNP spokesman Lakshman Kiriella had the chutzpah to say that any fool could wage war (onema gonekuta yuddha karanna puluwan). That was the UNP's assessment of Gen. Fonseka and others who were prosecuting the war, at that time! The army was fighting fiercely braving as they did 'rains' of shell fire, when UNP stalwart and MP Ravi Karunanayake declared in Parliament that the army was moving in the direction of Medawachchi thinking it was Kilinochchi and heading for Pamankada mistaking it for Alimankada (Elephant Pass). 'The most unkindest cut' came from SLFP dissident Mangala Samaraweera, who audaciously claimed Gen. Sarath Fonseka was not capable of leading even the Salvation Army! Gen.
Fonseka did not take such insults lying down. He returned fire, so to speak, whenever he got an opportunity. In several television interviews, he called his critics in the UNP 'imbeciles' and he castigated Samaraweera by innuendo calling him a 'clothes designer' devoid of any knowledge of military affairs.
Having laid siege to the last stronghold of Prabhakaran, the troops were closing in on him when the UNP asked the army and the government why there was an inordinate delay in capturing Prabhakaran.
Today, General Fonseka has closed ranks with the 'imbeciles' who considered him not fit enough to lead, of all organisations, the Salvation Army! Most interestingly, they are using him to bask in the reflected glory of the armed forces who won the war which they went all out to scuttle, albeit in vain.
As it is rightly said about politics and politicians, there are neither permanent enemies nor permanent friends; there are only permanent interests!