Sri Lankan Tamil parties wary about attending TESO meet
Sri Lanka’s Tamil political parties are wary about attending a meeting of the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO) to be held in Chennai on Aug 12.
On the record, the spokesmen of various parties say that their executive committees will meet and take a decision on the matter.
But party leaders privately say that there is no motivation to attend. The reasons cited are varied.
An important functionary of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main component of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), told Express on Sunday that if the ITAK or the TNA attended the meeting (organised by DMK leader M Karunanidhi), AIADMK leader and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa might get annoyed and go against them as the late MGR did in the 1980s.
MGR had helped the LTTE and ignored other militant groups because the latter had accepted a donation from the DMK leader, and the LTTE had not.
“We have to be mindful of the way our issue is looked at in Tamil Nadu. It is entangled with local party politics and we have to play accordingly,” an ITAK functionary explained. However, since the DMK is part of the Central Government, the ITAK feels that it cannot, off hand, reject Karunanidhi’s invitation.
“We are aware that without India’s support we can achieve nothing,” the ITAK leader quoted above said.
A top leader of the EPRLF, which is a constituent of the TNA, said that the EPRLF was not enthusiastic about TESO because there was no clarity about the purpose of the conference. “Neither the DMK chief nor any of the TNA leaders has any idea as to what the conference is going to focus on, and what it might lead to. Karunanidhi has changed his original stance and is now saying that there will be no call for Eelam. But neither he nor any one of us here has a clue as to what is going to be asked instead,” the EPRLF leader said.
According to him, the general feeling in his party is that it should neither oppose nor participate in the conference.
A leader of the Democratic National Front (DNF) said that his party was unlikely to attend the meet as it was only meant to serve the interests of the Indian government.