The JVP is weighing the option of fielding a candidate at the forthcoming presidential election and has not ruled out this possibility, well informed sources said.
According to these sources the party was also exploring the possibility of fielding a common candidate. In that case, the candidate would be a non-party member.
But their first choice is Premier Mahinda Rajapakse, who recently won the SLFP/PA candidacy, but the JVP has indicated that it would keep its options open until it reached a workable agreement with Rajapakse.
The JVP says the SLFP/PA should not expect their support unless the two parties reached consensus on the national issue. The party has ruled out its backing to continue with the Oslo-managed peace process as it is.
About a week after quitting the ruling coalition on June 16 in protest over the P-TOMS, the JVP urged Rajapakse to reveal his stand on the controversial tsunami aid sharing deal with the LTTE.
The JVP vehemently opposes what a senior member termed as successive governments appeasement policy towards the LTTE. It claims the two main contenders for the presidency are taking a similar stand on the peace process.
Political sources said that this was part of the JVP`s strategy aimed at coercing Rajapakse to take a stand different to President Chandrika Kumaratunga. She has pledged to go ahead with the P-TOMS agreement and is also on record saying the deal would facilitate the resumption of the peace process suspended in April 2003.
Certain interested parties supporting the peace process are also wooing Rajapakse. They want him to echo Kumaratunga now pushing hard to get the peace process back on track.
Political sources said that Rajapakse was trying to avoid controversies and disputes.
Rajapakse`s office said that there was no truth in claims that Premier Rajapakse wanted to have the presidential election in November this year. Disputing our front page story `Rajapakse camp wants poll this year`, his Press Secretary Chandrapala Liyanage said that the premier did not wish to have presidential election this year. He emphasised that SLFP/PA and the government were united in the position that the presidential election should be held next year.
Liyanage also said that there was no truth in speculation that premier sought approval from the LTTE to visit Madhu. His office said that there was a conspiracy against the premier and accused some political parties and a section of the media of carrying out a campaign to undermine him.