"He will never join forces who have been in constant touch with the LTTE"

A Minister in the Sri Lankan government told Parliament on Friday that though the government did not fear any common candidate proposed by the opposition for the next presidential election, it hoped that Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka would not fall into the opposition trap.

It is for the first time that the government has talked so openly about the prospect of General Fonseka taking on President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the next presidential ballot. Minister of Power Mahindananda Aluthgamage, in the course of a debate on the motion for extension of emergency, asserted that no common candidate would be able to defeat Mr. Rajapaksa.

“I do not think that General Fonseka is so foolish that he would fall for the opposition trap. He will never join forces with bankrupt party leaders like Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mano Ganeshan. Both have been in constant touch with the LTTE,” he told the House.

Mr. Aluthgamage accused the opposition parties of wanting to cash in on General Fonseka’s popularity and said the General “who is a great Sinhala war hero will never be fooled by these elements.”

Mr. Aluthgamage said that the opposition campaign that the security provided for General Fonsek had been reduced was wrong and added that he was provided with more security than the President.

The observations of the Minister assume importance as the former Prime Minister and leader of the newly floated 12-party United National Front (UNF), Ranil Wickremesinghe, has openly come out in support of the idea of General Fonseka contesting the presidential election.

The front was formed on November 2 with the explicit objective of combating the “corrupt and despotic Rajapaksa family regime” and switch over to Indian-style parliamentary democracy.

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