Checking Indian hegemony will be JVP’s election plank

March 21st, 2008 - 3:45 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, March 21 (IANS) The Janatha Vimukti Peramuna (JVP), an ultra nationalist Sri Lankan party, will contest the provincial elections in eastern Sri Lanka to stem what it said was India’s bid to impose its “hegemony” on the region. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe was quoted in the media Friday as saying that India was trying to set up a “puppet regime” in the largely Tamil-speaking eastern province through the elections due in May.

The JVP would contest the elections to “defeat these anti-national designs,” he said. “India has already taken over land in the east up to Pulmoddai (in Trincomalee district),” Amarasinghe charged.

India was also planning to set up a coal-fired power station in Sampur near Trincomalee harbour “to establish its economic stranglehold on Sri Lanka”, he alleged.

“The former Indian high commissioner told us that India is hoping to build a power plant in Sampur to generate power and sell it. What benefit will Sri Lanka get out of such transactions?” he asked.

“We are not against the Indian people or the Indian government but only opposing this expansionism,” the JVP leader said.

The JVP may end up contesting the eastern provincial elections alone because its former electoral ally, the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), is seen by the party to be pro-India.

The JVP feels that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government has been giving in to India on the issue of devolution of power to the Tamil-speaking north and east and also on the issue of building a power plant in the east.

The JVP alleged that Rajapaksa’s decision to “fully implement” the devolution promised in the 13th amendment of the country’s constitution was forced by India.

The 13amendment was enacted following the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, which itself was “forced” on Sri Lanka, Amarasinghe pointed out.

The JVP has asked the government to disarm the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), which split from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2004 and aligned with the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The TMVP, though still armed, is a political and electoral ally of UPFA.

The TMVP swept the Batticaloa district municipal elections held March 10. It won the Batticaloa Municipal elections too in alliance with the UPFA. TMVP’s Sivageeta Prabakaran has become the mayor of Batticaloa.

Indicating the close relations between the ruling UPFA and the TMVP, the new mayor and all other TMVP elected members were sworn in not in Batticaloa but in Colombo, in the presence of President Rajapaksa.

The JVP, like so many other opposition parties, feels that free and fair elections cannot be held if the TMVP carries arms on top of having an electoral alliance with UPFA.

But UPFA leader and Minister for Construction Rajitha Senaratne has countered this by saying that the TMVP is under constant threat from the LTTE and so it needs to be remain armed.

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