Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fonseka returns to his residence

The Hindu: The high drama staged by retired General Sarath Fonseka, main opponent of the incumbent President who was declared elected for a second time with a huge margin and the defeated candidate in the Sri Lanka Presidential election, ended on a tame note late on Wednesday night after the former chose to return to his residence from a local hotel where he had taken shelter.

Hours after the counting commenced, Gen. (retd) Fonseka had checked into a local hotel in the early hours of Wednesday citing security concerns. Taking advantage of the presence of a large contingent of the international media here, he accused Mr. Rajapaksa of 'stealing the election' and 'plotting to eliminate him'.

Ironically, the questioning of the legitimacy of the outcome of the presidential election was not shared with equal enthusiasm by the opposition parties that backed him to the hilt in the course of the six week long intense campaign. Besides, the 'discovery' that the retired General had not deemed it necessary to enrol himself as a voter and its adverse impact among the people seems to have clearly embarrassed his supporters from the opposition ranks.

The issue is particularly delicate for every one as the island nation is to witness a general election in the month of April. Two reasons seem to have compelled Gen. (retd) Fonseka to end the hotel show. Sections of the opposition leaders are believed to have counselled him to act with restraint as any further rash moves by him would adversely impact their prospects in the forthcoming parliamentary election.

Besides, Mr. Rajapaksa sought to defuse the situation by his comment, in response to questions about his first informal interaction with the media that the retired General is free to contact him to discuss any issues related to security. "What is his problem? He can always get in touch me. After all he was my former Army Chief," he quipped, when asked about the issue of threat to his life raised by the commander turned politician.

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