Five days before the close of official campaign to the Sri Lankan presidential election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his chief opponent General (retired) Sarath Fonseka vowed not to allow rise of secessionist forces in the island nation.

In the run up to the election, the former Army Chief and the consensus opposition nominee, secured the support of the post-Prabakaran Tamil National Alliance (TNA) but is now faced with charges of a "secret pact" pledging re-merger of the northern and eastern provinces. Though the General has denied the allegation levelled by Mr. Rajapaksa's campaign managers, it has emerged as one of the dominant themes.

At their respective rallies across the nation, the contenders, with perhaps an eye on the majority community voters, deemed it necessary to rake up the issue of not letting anyone revive any separatist movement .

The campaign office of Mr. Rajapaksa quoted him as saying at a rally he is not prepared to betray the country for an election and vowed to defeat all forces which are attempting to divide the country after it was liberated from terrorists eight months ago.

General Fonseka's campaign office in a message circulated through an E-mail quoted him as saying, "Unlike other presidential campaigns, we sought out active and vocal citizens not just passive voters.

The journey has not been easy as our opponents have mounted the most brutal, unprincipled and murderous election campaign ever conducted in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, our active social movement to bring in a positive change has gained momentum every day - we are stronger than we were ever before."

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