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JVP still believes deal with UNP possible
=SF DNA’s prime ministerial candidate

The JVP-led Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday (Feb 22) said that it was not too late for the UNP to reverse its ‘unjustifiable’ decision, to contest the forthcoming parliamentary polls under the ‘elephant’ symbol, to pave way for a common Opposition front against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ‘authoritarian’ rule.

JVP spokesman Vijitha Herath said that there was still time and space for such an alliance.

Addressing the media at the defeated presidential candidate General (retd) Sarath Fonseka’s political office, at Rajakeeya Mawatha, the former Gampaha District MP said that SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan of the Western Democratic Front (WDF) had been engaged in a relentless effort to save the Opposition alliance, which backed Fonseka at the January 26 presidential poll. Revealing that negotiations were continuing with the UNP leadership, Herath said they expected a favourable response from the UNP within the next few hours.

Nominations will close on Friday (Feb 26). Herath said that they will contest all 22 electoral districts, including Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

Herath said that both Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan had supported their call for a united front against the UPFA, though the UNP caused a split by deciding to contest under the ‘elephant’ symbol. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva and former UPFA MP Arjuna Ranatunga, too, echoed Herath. Responding to The Island queries, Herath said that Sarath Fonseka would be the prime ministerial candidate of the DNA and that particular issue hadn’t been discussed with the UNP. Confirming our lead story of yesterday that Fonseka would lead their candidates contesting from the Colombo district, Herath declined to comment on the possibility of the General’s wife, Anoma joining the fray.

Herath emphasised that the Army wouldn’t have arrested the former Army Commander had he refrained from challenging President Rajapaksa. The veteran soldier had risked his life for the sake of the Opposition he said, emphasising that they had no moral right to break up the alliance, which campaigned for him at the presidential polls.

He said that those who had exercised their franchise in support of Fonseka at the presidential election expected the alliance to remain intact and contest parliamentary polls. He said that Fonseka wished a continuation of his alliance, though the UNP hindered the strategy. He revealed that Fonseka, now held on unsubstantiated conspiracy charges had sent messages through his wife both to the JVP and UNP calling for the continuation of the pre-presidential polls alliance.

While regretting that the UNP had quit the alliance, Mrs Fonseka expressed the belief that all concerned parties would realise the situation and shed their political differences to forge a political alliance to meet any eventuality. She urged people to rally around the newly formed alliance to defeat the Rajapaksa government which she accused of human rights violations, nepotism and political terrorism. She appealed for women’s support for their campaign, while emphasising the need to ensure the government couldn’t have its way at the parliamentary polls.

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