COLOMBO:For the first time in the seven-year history of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will be taking up ministerships in the multi-ethnic province.
TNA MP from Batticaloa district, P Ariyanenthiran, told Express on Tuesday, that the party has accepted an invitation by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC)-Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) coalition to join the Board of Ministers to bring about communal harmony in the multi-ethnic province.
The TNA will also be getting the post of Deputy Chairman of the provincial council, he added. The TNA has 11 members in the 37-member council.
Earlier, the TNA had wanted to form an administration with the SLMC, but after a lot of dilly dallying, the SLMC decided not to tie up with the TNA. Instead, it struck a deal with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and formed a Board of Ministers in which the Chief Ministership would go by rotation. However, this administration had a major flaw. The Board of Ministers did not have a single Tamil, although Tamils constitute a third of the province’s population.
However, with the newly elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Siresena urging parties to think of national or all party governments, the Eastern Provincial administration run by the SLMC and SLFP, decided to invite the TNA to join the Board of Ministers and offered to it, two Ministerships and the Deputy Chairmanship of the council. The offer was accepted by the TNA.