KILINOCHCHI: Successive Sri Lankan governments have dubbed Sivagnanam Sritharan, the outspoken Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP from Jaffna district, an LTTE agent. The fact that he is the brother-in-law of the dreaded LTTE military commander “Colonel” Theepan, only reinforced this view. Sritharan was also a bitter critic of India for its alleged indifference when thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in the last phase of Eelam War IV.
But Sritharan has undergone a major political makeover, as Express discovered during an interview at his office in Kilinochchi. “My Thalaivar (leader) is still Velupillai Prabhakaran,” Sritharan affirms. “But my political model is Modi,” he reveals.
“Modi belongs to a long line of Indian leaders who I have looked up to, such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Subhas Chandra Bose, Annai Indira and Mother Teresa,” he says. Asked in what way Modi is his political model, Sritharan said: “It’s his clear thinking, sense of mission and his rise from the very bottom of the social ladder to the very top. Above all, he seems to have God’s blessings. I saw his devotion to God when he worshiped at the Keerimalai kovil and felt that he has an inner eye through which he will be able to see our problems clearly.”
Modi’s self assurance gave the Lankan Tamils a lot of hope, the MP said. Daring to speaking in Hindi to an audience of Tamils needed self-assurance. Asked if the Hindi speeches put him off, Sritharan said: “I appreciated his speaking in his country’s language (Hindi). And when he did utter a Tamil word like Vanakkam, he packed a lot of meaning in it.”
The Tamils should accept Modi’s advice to cooperate with the new Maithripala Sirisena government and give it time to attend to their issues, Sritharan said, shifting from Prabhakaran’s line that Indian is best ignored.
“Given geopolitical realities, we cannot solve our problems without India’s help, and India needs us for its own security. India needs a peaceful Jaffna because Jaffna is like the fuse of an explosive which can shatter South India,” he said.