India votes for peace in Lanka

Published on Apr 01, 2004 12:59 PM IST

India has been pressing Prez and Wickremesinghe to salvage their cohabitation arrangement and work without risking the peace efforts.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India

India has been pressing Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe to salvage their cohabitation arrangement and work together without risking the peace efforts.

However, Kumaratunga's alliance with the Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, has raised doubts about a coherent policy towards the peace process.

While the President is committed to devolving political power to minorities in exchange for ethnic peace, the JVP is only interested in decentralisation of the administration.

The JVP's leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said they were totally against "federalism" as a solution although Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe have agreed on such a formula to solve the long running conflict.

The economic policies of the alliance are also contradictory.

While Kumaratunga favours privatisation, the JVP is against any form of sellout of state enterprises.

The Alliance manifesto specifically rules out privatising petroleum sector which had already been opened up to Indian Oil Company by Wickremesinghe.

On the other hand, if Wickremesinghe forms the next government, Sri Lanka would be back to square one as far as the cohabitation crisis is concerned.

But, Wickremesinghe plays down fears of constitutional gridlock after the April 2 vote.

"The president has gone to the people asking for a new mandate," Wickremesinghe said last week.

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