COLOMBO: Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s statement on Wednesday telling Sri Lankan Tamils who they should vote for in the August 17 parliamentary elections, seems to be an endorsement of the radical Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) rather than his own party, the moderate Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Justifying his “neutrality” in the elections, Wigneswaran said that politicians who had got elected earlier had flouted their promises in regard to the Tamils’ rights such as the right to self-determination. They had done precious little to set right the wrongs done to the Tamils during and after Eelam War IV.
The elected leaders had been stressing the need to “get along” with the leaders of South Sri Lanka, thereby “selling out” to the latter. If they had any intention to make such compromises, they should have said so in their manifestoes, Wigneswaran argued!
That the accusing finger was pointed at the TNA is clear because most Sri Lankan Tamils elected to representative bodies are from that party. The TNPF had boycotted the Northern Provincial Council and Presidential elections. It is contesting the August parliamentary elections, though.
The TNA’s stand has been that cooperation of the South Lankan Sinhalese parties is necessary to secure Tamils’ rights. That was why it backed Maithripala Sirisena in the January 8 Presidential election. The TNPF, on the other hand, spurns cooperation with the Sinhalese parties and believes that support of the Tamil Diaspora and the West is enough.
The TNA believes that India’s support is necessary, but the TNPF differs. Significantly, Wigneswaran’s statement mentions the need to secure the West’s support, but ignores India.
Observers suspect that the pro-LTTE section of the Tamil Diaspora is propping up TNPF and Wigneswaran. The moderate Diaspora, represented by the Global Tamil Forum, is supporting TNA.
Criticising Wigneswaran’s stand, V.Thanabalasingham, editor of Thinakkural said: “Having won with TNA’s support, Wigneswaran has a moral obligation to support it now. He says he is neutral, but it is clear that he is backing a particular party. His stand has caused confusion in voters’ minds.”
Informed sources told Express that the TNA is contemplating action against Wigneswaran after the elections.