The Opposition is pressuring the government to clarify its position on the allegation by the ousted Minister Sripathy Sooriayaarachchi that there is a secret pact between President Rajapakse and the LTTE. That is why, Sripathy insists, the government has confined its military campaign to the East. The real war, he believes, should be fought in the North. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Rajapakse has denied the existence of any such pact.
Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to have taken Sripathy`s allegation seriously. He tries to have us believe that if the LTTE had not instigated a polls boycott, which President Rajapakse`s critics say, was consequent to the so-called secret pact, he would have won the Presidential election in 2005. Even if he had won with the help of votes in the LTTE controlled areas, he would still have been rejected overwhelmingly in the South and he wouldn`t have been able to carry the people of the South along with him in fashioning a southern consensus which is a prerequisite for resolving the conflict. Remember, the US Ambassador Robert O Blake said in his address to a recent peace forum at the BMICH, `Sri Lanka has in President Rajapakse a strong leader who can use his very considerable political skills and the trust that his supporters repose in him to help fashion the southern consensus that has eluded previous governments.` Could the same thing have been said of someone rejected by the South?
The ousted ministers must elaborate on their allegation and support it with factual evidence. Sripathy and Mangala led President Rajapakse`s election campaign from the front and were privy to a lot of `secrets.` Therefore, they ought to place before the people the proof of the pact they are talking about without further delay. Similarly, they owe an explanation to the public as to why they didn`t reveal the `Mahinda-Prabhakaran pact` to the people before the presidential election so that the voters could have made an informed decision. Did they pull the wool over the eyes of the people as the `secret pact` served their purpose at that time? And why did they wait until they were thrown out of the Cabinet to go public with their allegation?
Sripathy claims that the government has restricted the war to the East in keeping with a `secret pact` but the question is why the Navy destroyed a ship carrying arms to the LTTE in the southern seas on Wednesday. And why has the Navy sunk so many vessels that tried to replenish the LTTE` arsenal? The Air Force, we learn, is taking targets in the North. Yesterday, it was reported that the LTTE targets in Thunukkai (Mullativu) were being bombed! Either Sripathy or Mangala must clear the doubts in the public mind as to whether the LTTE`s attempts to assassinate Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka` and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse were also part of that pact. If the war is confined to the East, why is it that the LTTE has launched attacks in Colombo? Didn`t the outfit try to attack even the Colombo Port? Is it that Prabhakran, who refused to surrender arms in breach of his agreement with India in 1987, is sacrificing his camps with weapons, including artillery guns, and all his arms shipments on the altar of a secret pact with President Rajapakse? And what right does Prabhakaran have to shed tears for the hundreds of cadres killed in air strikes on targets in the East like Sencholai? For, according to Sripathy`s argument, those aerial attacks conform to the `secret pact`.
Mangala and Sripathy have, with their `pact theory`, done more damage to the JVP, which has thrown its weight behind them, than their bete noire President Rajapakse. How can the JVP, which has made a grand show of its opposition to the LTTE, justify its support for Mahinda, who is alleged to have a pact with Prabhakaran, at the last presidential election? Mangala has sought to control damage to the JVP by claiming at a press conference yesterday that the JVP was unaware of the `pact` at the time of the Presidential election. Even if that is true, now that Mangala and Sripathy, whom the JVP is carrying in a political palanquin, have proclaimed from the rooftops the existence of such an agreement, the Rathu Sahodarayas are duty bound to launch a campaign to force the government to reveal it to the people. Why is it that the JVP, which is campaigning so vigorously to get the CFA, signed between the LTTE and Ranil, abrogated, is not doing enough about the `secret pact` between Mahinda and Prabhakran? It must campaign against that pact as well?it may adopt the slogan Mahinda-Prabhakran rahas givisuma vahama helikarunu! Else, the discerning will conclude that either the JVP hasn`t taken Mangala-Sripathy duo`s claim seriously or it is taking the `pact` for granted.
Mangala has said he will `come back`, if the President implements his ten-point plan. But, how dare he offer to re-join the Cabinet of a person who, he says, has a secret pact with the LTTE, even if all his demands are met? And why didn`t Mangala make the abolition of that secret pact one of his ten demands? Curiouser and curiouser!
Mangala and Sripathy have called for a parliamentary probe into their allegation. Their request must be complied with. The public has a right to know the truth. The duo must divulge everything that they know of the pact that they are talking about and prove beyond any doubt that it really exists. But, what if it is found by any chance that they have lied to the people out of their frustration at the `Rajapakse Company`? Will they resign from their seats?
The Mangala-Sripathy-Somawansa troika has got an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! The best way to get rid of both President Rajapaske and Prabhkaran is to prove that there is a secret pact between them. If that could be done, Mahinda will be done for politically in the South and Prabhakran exposed for sacrificing so many cadres, arms and ammunition in the East because of a pact with the President. He won`t be able to justify giving up the Eastern Province, the be-all and end-all of Eelam, to save the North, which he could have got, without firing a single shot, from Chandrika, when she offered it to him on a platter for ten years without elections, in 1994. In such an eventuality, he will be branded as a traitor to the LTTE`s cause. He will have to either bite his cyanide capsule or face a bullet from a cadre!
The SLFP dissidents and the UNP deserve public support for their campaign to have a probe initiated into their allegations.