B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said he was seeking a second term in the January 26 election after completing 98 per cent of promises he had made in the 2005 poll. Meanwhile, two leaders of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) pledged their support to the major opposition parties candidate and former Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka.

The poll, mainly a contest between Mr. Rajapaksa and the commander-turned-politician, is heating up.

An announcement by the main opposition party United National Party (UNP) said, “Another new party is to join the United National Alliance tomorrow under the patronage of the United National Front and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.”

Curfew in Jaffna

Governor of the Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri announced that the “unofficial curfew” in Jaffna would be lifted from Thursday.

A bus service linking Batticaloa to Jaffna has commenced and the government slashed the prices of some petroleum products and reduced the price of gas cylinder .

Addressing entrepreneurs and businessmen, bus owners and farmers from the North, East and North Central Provinces in Anuradhapura, Mr. Rajapaksa has said the government is now ready to make Sri Lanka South Asia’s most prosperous nation.

“They thought that the war could not be won and Prabakaran could not be defeated. They thought that the country would be divided soon. Farmers were treated shabbily. Support for local agriculture was not given.

“Then regimes were more concerned on importing luxury food items. As a result farmers resorted to suicide,” the President’s Secretariat quoted him as saying.