by Shamindra Ferdinando
There is absolutely no basis for Opposition accusations that one-time LTTE heavyweight Kumaran Padmanathan alias "KP’ will contest forthcoming elections for the Northern Province as the UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate, a senior government official says.
Responding to recent criticism of the UPFA government receiving the support of an influential section of the Tamil Diaspora through ‘KP", the official alleged the Opposition was trying to cause a rift among constituent parties of the UPFA.
EPDP leader Minister Douglas Devananda, a long-time ally of successive governments, is widely believed to be interested in the CM’s post.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official, with access to the ongoing talks involving ‘KP’, said that their aim was to bring relief to people affected by war. He said: "We are not talking politics. What we need is a permanent arrangement to ensure security in a post-LTTE era and bring in investments in support of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement efforts."
He accused the Opposition of seeking to exploit ‘KP’ issue to its advantage in the absence of a clear political strategy to take on the government.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader General (Rtd) Sarah Fonseka, MP recently warned the government not to trust ‘KP’ as he could mislead ongoing investigations into LTTE operations. Fonseka claimed that he had received information regarding a government plan to appoint ‘KP’ as the Northern Province Chief Minister in keeping with their agreement.
Government sources said that the former Army Commander should not take his sources seriously. He seemed to have conveniently forgotten the way his informants and advisors had deceived him during the run-up to the January 26 presidential election.Sources said that ‘KP’ could play a role in the post-LTTE era without being the Chief Minister of the Northern Province.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in record promising PC elections for the Northern Province. Government sources said that Local Government elections, too, would be held in the Northern Province. Sources asserted that elections could be called once the government completed the resettlement of all war displaced persons.
According to a joint statement issued by the Netherlands embassy and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the ongoing resettlement process could end as early as end of August in line with a government decision.
Political sources said that the government’s readiness to work with ‘KP’ had upset many Tamil politicians, including TULF great V. Anandasangaree. The veteran politician recently told The Sunday Island that ‘KP’ should not be trusted. The LTTE rump could be still planning to achieve eelam, though the LTTE no longer retained a conventional military capability. ‘KP’ could be a Trojan horse and end up causing severe damage unless the government stopped mollycoddling a terrorist and his associates.
But government policy makers alleged that the likes of Anandasangaree had ignored ex-LTTE leaders throwing their weight behind the government. They said that Karuna, Pilleyan and several other senior cadres over the past four years had helped the government in a big way. " Now, ‘KP’ is ready to work with the government after realizing the absurdity in supporting separatist sentiments. Only a fool will reject his offer," they said. ~ Courtesy: The Island ~