Sri Lanka ruling coalition likely to resort to racism as the minority community leaders express support to opposition presidential candidate

(January 09, Colombo - Lanka Polity) “Sri Lanka ruling party is likely to resort to Sinhala racism or ethnic chauvinism in the days ahead up to January 26 presidential since major elements of the ethnic minorities of the island nation are bent to express support to the opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

Sivageetha Prabakaran, the lady Mayor of Eastern Province Batticaloa Municipal Council has expressed her support to Fonseka breaking away from the ruling alliance while Minister Segu Isadeen, a Muslim leader of the ruling coalition also did the same on the same day.

Ms. Prabakaran was elected the Mayor via Tamil People's Liberation Tigers (TMVP) ticket in the local government elections held immediately after the state forces wiped out the Tamil Tiger rebels from the Eastern Province.

Rumours are spreading that her former colleague, Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan, an ex-rebel, is also likely to express support to Fonseka's candidature. No wonder if former Deputy of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, a Minister of National Integration will also cross over to the opposition in this context..

Two political leaders of the Upcountry Tamils recently expressed support to Fonseka and rumors are spreading that Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) leader and powerful Minister Arumugam Thondaman will also express support to Fonseka before January 26.

The major Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is supporting the opposition candidate from the beginning.Ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Muslim leader Minister A.H.M. Fowzie is also slated to express support to the opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

There is a long list of names of the Ministers that are to express support to Fonseka and it appears that the opposition campaign managers are using these 'resources' thriftily.

In this backdrop, the campaign managers of President Mahinda Rajapaksa have already turned to brand Fonseka as a traitor who is backed by the remnants of the LTTE despite the claims that Rajapaksa led the forces to wipe out the rebels outright. The major evidence cited is the backing of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Fonseka is receiving. TNA was considered a proxy of the LTTE when the latter was powerful. In any case, the TNA is still strong among Tamil people and Rajapaksa also discussed with them to win their support before it discovered the TNA was the same LTTE, as a Minister stated on Friday.

Analysts point out that Rajapaksa regime will resort to racism and ethnic chauvinism as they have decided to lay all their eggs in the basket of Sinhala vote base. Sinhala polity is also divided since opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka is also an arch-Sinhala nationalist who in September 2008 said to Canadian National Post "I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people...We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country...We are also a strong nation ... They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue thing."

Fonseka, the ex-Army Chief led the state forces to an outright win over the Tamil Tigers and he claims for equal credits with Rajapaksa for the war victory.


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