The JVP is in a quandary over the upcoming Local Government elections as it is faced with a hard choice between entering the fray separately and making the UPFA grant its unwieldy demand. According to sources, the JVP is wary of contesting the polls separately as it fears that a possible defeat will expose its real strength and negate the impressive victory it scored at the last general election where it secured 39 seats. At the last Local Government elections, the JVP managed to win only a single Pradeshiya Sabha - the Tissamaharama PS.
The UPFA also runs the risk of losing a sizeable chunk of its anti-UNP vote to the JVP if they break ranks at the grassroots level thus allowing the faction ridden UNP to capitalize on the situation. Describing the situation, a senior UPFA minister said, `It would be like giving oxygen to the UNP.`
The JVP, which was instrumental in President Mahinda Rajapakse`s victory, has asked for the control of one third of local government bodies and fifty percent of seats for their members and demanded that the list of those Pradeshiya Sabhas must be announced before the polls.
General Secretary of the UPFA, Minister Susil Premjayanth said that the JVP had made the request last Friday (26). He said that he had to consult the party`s district leadership and the General Secretary of the SLFP first. Premjayanth said that he had already informed SLFP General Secretary Minister Maitripala Sirisena of the JVP demands.
Party leaders of the UPFA sans JVP are scheduled to meet today in Colombo to discuss the development.
A JVP central Committee member said that both SLFP and the JVP had named their grass-root level leaders to be in list of nominations for the forthcoming local government polls.