COLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Tuesday swept the Sri Lankan parliamentary elections in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces overcoming new challenges.
There were two pro-LTTE Tamil parties in the fray, both urging the voters to adopt a radical stance. And then, there was an unexpected challenge from the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran, who issued a statement urging the Tamils to vote for radicalism thereby indirectly appealing to them to ditch the TNA which happened to be his own party!
In the Jaffna-Kilinochchi electoral district, the TNA bagged five out of the seven seats. In the Wanni district, it got 4 out of the six seats. In Batticaloa district, it got three out of five. In Trincomalee, it secured one out of four; and in Amparai also, it got one out of four. It bagged 14 seats in all.
The only other Tamil party to get a seat in the North and East is the Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Douglas Devananda. One seat in Jaffna went to Vijayakala Maheswaran, a Tamil candidate of the United National Party (UNP).
In Jaffna-Kilinochchi, the TNA’s winner are Mavai Senathirajah, S.Sritharan, M.A.Sumanthiran, E.Saravanapavan, and D.Siddadthan. TNA’s chief, R.Sampanthan, won from Trincomalee. .
During the election campaign it was believed that the Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam will get at least one seat. This was because it was propagating a hard line on the Tamil issue asking for the right to “full self determination.” It was opposed to a “federal” constitution and also to devolution under the India-sponsored 13 th. Amendment of the Lankan constitution. For all its radicalism, the TNPF got only 0.6 percent of the votes in the district.
It was also believed by some that the new party of ex-LTTE fighters named “Crusaders For Democracy” will steal the hearts of the Tamils. But it draw a blank.
However, the most serious challenge was from Chief Minister Wigneswaran. He first declared that he would be “neutral” (though he was elected as a TNA candidate), and then issued a statement which seemed to endorse the hard line of the TNPF and the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora.