President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday told the UPFA`s main coalition ally JVP to leave the government if it did not wish to remain in the fold.
Addressing an opening ceremony of a rural bank in Nittambuwa, President Kumaratunga said when the government was about to come to an agreement with LTTE leader Prabhakaran, the JVP was threatening to leave the government over a `word` in the agreement.
`This is a joke. We cannot take the country forward like this. They are fighting over a word in the agreement with the LTTE. They can leave the government if they wish to`, she said.
President Kumaratunga said she wanted to introduce a policy banning family members contesting elections from the same party much to the dislike of many in her party. `While I was trying to introduce this, a certain government party which is calling people as brothers and sisters is trying to fish out our party men to its party`.
Ms. Kumaratunga said unlike other leaders she spoke the truth without fear and most people did not like that trait in her.
` It appears that our people will kill me before Prabhakaran does,` she said.
Insisting on the need for the police to take firm action against the wrongdoers, the President said a certain politician from Attanagalla involved in the killing of a Provincial councilor had not been arrested.
`When I asked the IGP as to why they let him go, the IGP said they were waiting for my word. I asked him to arrest him right away`.
The President said cooperatives were known to be `dens of thieves` and insisted on the need to appoint capable efficient leaders for them. `That is why there is a lot of violence during cooperative elections. People make business out of cooperatives`.
`People realise the value of cooperatives only at times of disasters like the tsunami and floods and when there is an oil price hike. When the prices of all commodities are jacked up artificially, the cooperatives provide goods at a fair price,` the President said.
In 2006 cooperative societies would complete hundred years in existence but in the Gampaha district alone only 6 of 11 cooperatives are making profits. She also promised to increase the salaries of the workers of the profit-earning cooperative societies.
The President said the government had allocated Rs. 17 billion for post-tsunami infrastructure rebuilding and Rs. 300 million for setting up new houses. `We are hoping to go ahead with the reconstruction from the beginning of March`, she said.