UNP by failing its pledge on the party list nomination, deceived my party and also deceived the Tamil community – Mano Ganesan
The leader of the Democratic People’s Front - Mano Ganesan spoke on variety of subjects in an exclusive interview with Asian Tribune. He said that he continues to work with UNP because of his desire to work for the welfare of his community in particular and the nation in general, despite UNP has deceived him on the party list MP nomination, which is legitimately due to him.
When Asian Tribune asked Mano Ganesan whether he regrets for supporting the former army commander Sarath Fonseka in the last Presidential Election?
Mano Ganesan responded, “I have no regrets at all. I am glad that I supported him. We were able to strike a balance in the election, as well as in the body polity of the country. Unfortunately, we could not win in the election. My Party considers the current regime as an ‘autocratic regime’, and if not for having the former Army Commander as the common opposition candidate, the level of the autocratic rule would have been further up. By our action, we were able balance it by supporting Sarath Fonseka and gaining 4 million votes.
When asked why he is going to Jaffna to participate in the May Day Rally when it was not his electorate, he said “We are not going for election purposes in Jaffna. It is understood that Jaffna is part of the country. I have gone to Panandura also.
Panadura is not my electorate. We are also planning to go to the ‘Deep South’ far as Matara and Hambantota areas, but those are not my personal electorates. As a national political Party and a party with a national outlook, we will go anywhere.”
Mano Ganesan also pointed out that the UN HRC resolution is mostly speaking about the LLRC recommendations. The LLRC recommendations mean that is our own product. It is not the product of the international community or that of Navaneetham Pillai, or Ban Ki-moon or of that of Darusman. It is our own product. Why don’t we get together and implement those recommendations.
Mano Ganesan, a former Paliamentarian is the leader of the Democratic People’s Front , President of Democratic Workers Congress, a trade union and Convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission, a human rights monitoring peoples campaign movement. He won in the last Colombo Municipal Election and subsequently resigned his seat.
Given below the excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with Mano Ganesan:
Asian Tribune: Why are you participating in a May Day Rally in Jaffna?
Mano Ganesan: We are part and parcel of the opposition. We are conducting political campaigns and our campaign has already started and we are continuing to hold rallies all over the country. We had our first campaign in Colombo, then went to Panadura, then went to Hatton, then the last one was at Kandy and due to the New Year holidays we suspended our campaign temporarily and we will be starting again with a major rally in Jaffna.
Asian Tribune: What is this campaign for?
Mano Ganesan: We hold political campaigns in the interest of the people of this country. We highlight the issues that affect the life of the people. We highlight in our campaign the rising prices and the high cost of living and also we focus on the political issues as well as the economic issues that affect the people. I think this a legitimate activity of a democratic political party.
Asian Tribune: You said, tell me what you mean by “We”?
Mano Ganesan: Right now - UNP, our party - Democratic People’s Front, N.S.S. P – Nava Sama Samaja Party and , United Socialist Party led by Sri Thunga, and the Tamil National Alliance on the other hand.
Asian Tribune: They are also coming to all these places to participate in your campaign? I mean the TNA?
Mano Ganesan: In fact TNA MPs - Suresh Premachandran and Sumanthiran participated in our inaugural rally in Colombo. Then again Suresh Premachandran participated in our rally we had in Panadura.
Asian Tribune: Did Suresh Premachandran participated on behalf TNA or on his own EPRLF?
Mano Ganesan: We consider him as a TNA representative. There is no issue over his participation. He is a TNA MP.
Asian Tribune: But your electorate is Colombo and Upcountry and why Jaffna?
Mano Ganesan: We are not going for election purposes to Jaffna. It is understood that Jaffna is part of the country. I have gone to Panadura also.
Panadura is not my electorate. We are also planning to go to the deep south also, such as Matara and Hambantota areas, but those are not my personal electorates. As a national political party and a party with a national outlook, we will go anywhere.
Asian Tribune: In the last presidential election you supported the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Do you now regret for to have supported him?
Mano Ganesan: “I have no regrets at all. I am glad that I supported him. We were able to strike a balance in the election as well as in the body polity of the country. We could not win in the election. My party considers the current regime as an autocratic regime, and if not for having the former Army Commander as the common opposition candidate, the level of the autocratic rule would have been further up. By our actions we are able to strike a balance by supporting Sarath Fonseka and gaining 4 million votes.
Asian Tribune: The votes Sarath Fonseka obtained was only 4,173,185 which was in fact something less than what Ranil Wickremasinghe recievied in the 2005 presisdential election? In fact Ranil Wickremasinghe received 4,706,366 votes in the 2005 presisdential election?
Mano Ganesan: But the circumstances are different. The 2010 political circumstances were totally different from what was in 2005.
Asian Tribune: There is a rumor to say that in 2016 presidential election Mrs. Chandrika Kumarathunga would be your common opposition candidate?
Mano Ganesan: I did not have any idea. I respect Mrs. Chandrika Kumarathuna as being a non-racist politician comparatively in Sri Lanka so far. Furthermore, feeding a common candidate in the next presidential election is news to me.
Asian Tribune: I said that it was a rumor.
Mano Ganesan: Even the rumor is coming to me only through you now. I have not come across this rumor so far.
Asian Tribune: As a journalist we talk to many people …. You know?
Mano Ganesan: Yes. I know. Thanks for bringing the news to me.
Asian Tribune: You know you talk of the present regime as autocratic one, but how come your brother Prabah Ganesan who is elected on your party ticket is now with them?
Mano Ganesan: Regarding that you must ask him only. There are so many brothers and sisters and fathers and sons and mothers and daughters and they all take part in different political parties and this is one of that.
Asian Tribune: Prabah Ganesan was elected in your party ticket. You paved the way for him to contest in Colombo. He has now crossed over to the ruling party (UPFA) side. Have you filed a case against him, challenging his decision to join the ruling party without your party’s approval?
Mano Ganesan: No. So far we have not gone to the law courts, but we have taken the party disciplinary action against him. Because so far though we have the law in the country, but unfortunately no political party was successful in the court of law by filing disciplinary actions against those party MPs.
Asian Tribune: I think that those parties who have contested the crossover have failed to bring adequate charges for the court of law to rule in their favor.
Mano Ganesan: Not only in this case, even in the last parliament, plenty of UNP parliamentarians crossed over to the Government side and UNP went to the courts , but they could not find any remedy. Even in the case of the Amparai electoral district TNA MP Perumpulli Hewage Piyasena, the Supreme Court ruled that the purported expulsion of Ampara district Parliamenatarian by the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) known as Federal Party, is invalid. These crossovers were not restricted alone to the opposition parties. When Mangala Samaraweera and Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa crossed over from the SLFP to the UNP and even the UPFA General Secretary was unable to take any action against them.
Asian Tribune: Now I want to ask another question. What is your position about the resolution adopted against Sri Lanka in the last UN Human Rights Council?
Mano Ganesan: Human Rights Council’s resolution came with all the advance notices. Any sane person in Sri Lanka or any Sri Lankan onlooker will realize that the government got it by its own fault. I wish to take you back to 2009 on May 26, the 11th session of the UN Human Rights Council, where Switzerland sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka which was not only defeated but also the Sri Lankan resolution which was praising Sri Lankan Government for the defeat of the terrorism in Sri Lanka was also passed handsomely.
This time it was 180 percent turnaround. I think Sri Lankan Government could not take a clue or idea of what the resolution of the 11th session was all about. Therefore I don’t blame anybody, but I blame the Government of Sri Lanka.
Asian Tribune: My question is, whether you was supportive of the American sponsored resolution?
Mano Ganesan: I have my doubts over the sponsors and the supporters of this resolution. All these nations had their own agenda. About that I am very sure about it. They did not support in the interest of either Tamils or Sinhalese of Sri Lanka. We can’t blame them also. They supported because of their own interest.
Asian Tribune: That means you want to say that those 23 countries which voted in favor of the resolution, they voted because of their vested interest? And not in the favor of either Tamils or Sinhalese and also they did not vote in favor of Sri Lanka?
Mano Ganesan: No I didn’t say that. I repeat, I underlined the word that it did not qualify that each country performed according to their own interest. That is quiet natural. And in our case, Sri Lanka acted according to its own interest. Sri Lanka supported Palestine and Sri Lanka gave its supports for many other things in the international arena.
We take decisions on our own interest. That is not wrong. What I say is the resolution is mostly speaking about the LLRC recommendations. The LLRC recommendation means that is our own product. It is not the product of the international community or that of Navaneetham Pillai or Ban-ki Moon or of that of Darusman. It is our own product. Why don’t we get together and implement those recommendations.
Asian Tribune: Finally I want to ask you whether you are now OK with the UNP? Patched up?
Mano Ganesan: Well I am a politician with lot of aims and with a longer perspectives, but that does not mean that I will tolerate and forget what happened to me from the UNP, but in the greater interest of our community and the nation, I have to work with the UNP. That is why we are working with the UNP.
Asian Tribune: Are you still holding your Colombo Municipal Council seat?
Mano Ganesan: That I resigned long before.
Asian Tribune: Was it done in the interest of the UNP?
Mano Ganesan: That is nothing to do with the UNP.
Asian Tribune: So your negotiation with the UNP is still going on regarding your right for a party list MPship?
Mano Ganesan: Obviously our party has a right and eligibility for the national list nomination. There is no doubt about it and that is what that is due to us. The UNP by not honoring their pledge, they have deceived not only my party, but they have also deceived the Tamil community. That is right. But still we are working with the UNP. Our relationship with UNP is not alone based on this particular issue.
I am a broad minded politician, and lot of responsibility to my people rest on me. I am being the voice of the voiceless; also I am the one and only Sinhalese speaking Tamil politician today seen on all the Southern platforms conveying the messages of the Tamils to the Sinhalese brothers and sisters. So I have a big role to play. I can tell you Mr. Rajasingham that my role as a political leader is much greater than that of any parliamentarians in this country.
Asian Tribune: Finally I want to ask you one more question that UNP has lost in many electoral battles. The leader of the party has miserably failed in almost all the elections. Do you still have trust on the leadership of Ranil Wickramasinghe who is said to be a failed leader?
Mano Ganesan: Kindly note that the leadership of the UNP is a matter for the UNPers to decide. But we consider that UNP party has a leader and we are dealing with that UNP leader.
- Asian Tribune -