When Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran received President Maitripala Sirisena in Jaffna on Tuesday, many perceived it as a novel gesture of goodwill for reconciliation between the north and the south. But, Justice Wigneswaran unnerved such positivists when he mentioned, in his address, the concept of two nations in one country.
President Matripala Sirisena visited Jaffna on Tuesday for the first time after his ascendency to the topmost political post, and addressed the District Development Co-ordinating Committee meeting. The Chief Minister used to boycott key functions in the north, graced by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the past. Therefore, his presence was seen as a development and fostering of understanding between the centre and the provincial administration.
Yet, Mr. Wigneswaran’s remarks about two nations panicked moderate elements within both the communities. Maybe, he was articulating such views for political ends in a society with an appeal for nationalism over others.
It is, of course, an idea advocated by the extremist elements of the likes of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Against this backdrop, Mr. Wigneswaran is viewed as somebody carried away by hard-line views of extremist groups.
In recent days, the Chief Minister has been at loggerheads with the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over his positions on certain issues. First, he was opposed to the attendance of TNA leader R. Sampanthan and MP M.A.Sumanthiran at the Independence Day Celebrations on February 4. Likewise, he entertained a harsh and hard-line resolution by provincial councilor M.K.Sivajilingam, to be adopted by the Northern Provincial Council. In this resolution, the NPC termed that genocide took place during the latter part of the war. The resolution drew criticism from the new government which called it an extremist move driven by a separatist agenda. The TNA leadership too rebuffs this resolution on the principle that it would strain the relationship between the central government and the provincial council, especially at a time it is sought to be strengthened further. This has led to a schism between the TNA leadership and the Chief Minister, leaving scope for analysts to have different interpretations.
One school of thought is that the pro-LTTE Diaspora is engineering a split in the TNA by promoting Mr. Wigneswaran over the TNA leadership at this hour.
Alarmed by this trend and its negative effects at general elections, the alliance partners of the TNA are worried whether unity will be at stake ahead of an election. Any division will have its electoral toll on the parties aligned with the TNA.
However, at the DCC meeting, President Sirisena stressed the need to bridge the gap between the north and the south in the greater interests of the country.
Mavai asks President to speak in Tamil
TNA MP for the Jaffna district Mavai Senathirajah, in his address, mentioned that it was important for the President to learn to speak in Tamil in the north. Mr. Senathirajah is the leader of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the largest and key ally of the TNA. He spoke about the language rights of individuals.
” It was important for the President to learn to speak in Tamil in the north ”
KKS Presidential Mansion to be given for public use
President Maitripala Sirisena, during his visit, inspected the president’s bungalow which is under construction in the Kankesanthurai area of the Jaffna district. The construction work was started during the previous tenure. President Sirisena, during his election campaign, was highly critical of the construction of such luxury bungalows at provincial level by the Rajapaksa government.
He berated the former President for what he called’ trying to entertain himself and his family in the lap of luxury’ at the cost of the people’s money. He vowed to end frolicking in public money by the country’s leaders upon election to office. Going by his pre-election words, he said he would leave this VIP bungalow for the use of people after completion of its work.
“Already, Rs.200 million has been spent. Another Rs.50 million has to be spent. I do not use it for my benefit. I will leave it for the people’s use,” he said.
“Going by his pre-election words, he said he would leave this VIP bungalow for the use of people after completion of its work”
TNA rift widens, Ananthi taken to task
The simmering crisis within the TNA became even more visible when its key member ITAK held responsible TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandran and Nothern Province member Ananthi Sasitharan for the burning of effigies of Mr. Sampanthan and Mr. Sumanthiran during demonstrations in Jaffna and outside the country. The Central Working Committee of the ITAK , adopted a resolution at its meet in Vavuniya on Sunday.
It says, “ITAK continues to observe the unwarranted and unacceptable steps being taken against its Senior Leader R. Sampanthan and Deputy General Secretary for International Affairs and ITAK Spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran in recent times within the Tamil homeland and in the diaspora.
A protest was conducted on the 21 st day of February in front of the bus depot in Jaffna. The purpose of the protest was to demand truth in respect of the disappeared, the release of political prisoners and the release of the UN Report without delay.
Suresh Premachandran MP of the Suresh Wing of the EPRLF which functions as a member of the TNA, and the Assistant Leader of the Women’s Wing of the ITAK Ananthi Sasitharan, participated at this event. On this occasion, an effigy burning of MP Sumanthiran took place, which was not envisaged and had no connection with the protest whatsoever. This effigy burning:
a) Rendered false the purpose for which people were mobilized and themselves mobilized to participate in the protest;
b) This incident which took place unexpectedly has falsely created the impression that those who eagerly participated in the protest were to blame for acting against Mr. Sumanthiran;
c) The collusion of TNA leaders in the above activities has brought into question the unity of the Tamil National Alliance.
“ITAK continues to observe the unwarranted and unacceptable steps being taken against its Senior Leader R. Sampanthan and Deputy General Secretary for International Affairs and ITAK Spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran in recent times within the Tamil homeland and in the diaspora“
It is of regret that Ms Ananthi Sasitharan transported the particular effigy to the location of the protest in her vehicle. It raises the question of her accountability to party discipline. The fact that the two individuals in question – Mr. Premachandran and Ms Ananthi Sasitharan – did not express regret over the incident suggests their willing involvement in it.
Further,Mr. Suresh Premachandran MP, has continued to criticize Mr. Sampanthan and Mr.Sumanthiran on many occasions. The Central Working Committee condemns these actions by Mr. Premachandran. This Committee must take disciplinary action against Ms. Ananthi Sasitharan who is herself a member. Mr. Premachandran has also acted irresponsibly in exercising the duties entrusted to him as Spokesman by the Parliamentary Group of the TNA. In this regard, the Central Committee calls on ITAK Members of Parliament to take action in respect of the abuse of his responsibilities.
The Central Working Committee also strongly condemns the burning of Mr. Sampanthan’s and Mr. Sumanthiran’s pictures outside the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and in front of the American Embassy in London, during protests conducted by some members of the diaspora to seek support for a genocide inquiry against Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Central Working Committee condemns the actions of the former Deputy Chairman of the Valvettithurai Urban Council Sathees who set fire to the effigy of Mr. Sumanthiran in Jaffna.
On this 1st of March 2015, the Central Working Committee of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi considering the changed
political environment prevailing after regime change in Sri Lanka resolves to request the government to expedite action in respect of the following matters immediately, in accordance with the promises made at the Presidential election:
The return of lands;
The release of political prisoners; and take steps in respect of the disappeared. Further, we urge the government to resettle, in their own lands, those displaced by the war. Moreover, the Central Committee reiterates that the government must, without delay, commence appropriate measures in respect of an acceptable political solution to the ethnic conflict.
The Central Working Committee today endorses and accepts the steps taken by the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance in the changed political environment prevailing after the change of regime in Sri Lanka.
SLFP, UNP yet to see eye to eye on constitutional reforms
SLFP and the United National Party (UNP) have not yet been able to reach a consensus on the proposed constitutional amendments. The two sides are having bilateral discussions at times to arrive at a consensus. SLFP insists on having electoral reforms enacted together with the enactment of constitutional amendments.
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the newest addition to the SLFP Central Committee as its Vice President, tries to prevail upon the party to agree to the UNP proposal that the executive presidency should be abolished
In the meantime, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the newest addition to the SLFP Central Committee as its Vice President, tries to prevail upon the party to agree to the UNP proposal that the executive presidency should be abolished. In his address to the Central Committee, he said the transfer of executive powers to Parliament could be done initially, allowing the incumbent President to retain powers on subjects such as defence and appointment of provincial governors.
Yet, the system is proposed to be scrapped fully, even transferring such powers to Parliament, effective from the next presidential term.
“We have to agree to this proposal. Then, we can nominate President Sirisena as our Prime Ministerial candidate,” he said.
Ranil wishes best of luck for efforts to unite MR, CBK and MS
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament that he wished the best of luck for efforts to unite former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Kumaratunga, and current President Maitripala Sirisena.
He made such remarks after some arguments with Democratic Left Front leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara.
SLFP toughens its stand on members attending pro-MR rallies
The four –party alliance is to conduct its second rally in Kandy tomorrow to press for the nomination of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the United People’s Freedom Alliance(UPFA) at the general elections likely to be conducted after April 23.
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna(MEP), Pivithuru Hela Urumaya(PHU), National Freedom Front(NFF) and Democratic Left Front are the parties that initiated this political exercise after having their maiden rally in Nugegoda on February 18.
It is learnt that two other parties will team up with them in Kandy today. They are the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) and National Congress.
However, SLFP has warned its members against attending such rallies organized by other parties in future. Party’s General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa made a statement to this effect. Definitely, President Maitripala Sirisena does not like to have Mr. Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate of any alliance led by the SLFP which is now under his (President Sirisena) leadership. Likewise, other top rung SLFP leaders are also unwilling to see a comeback of Mr. Rajapaksa in politics as it would obviously threaten their positions.
“Two other parties will team up with them in Kandy today. They are the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) and National Congress”
But, the SLFP is headed for a split unless the members supportive of Mr. Rajapaksa are reconciled with the present leaders of the party through consensus and compromise.Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva also took an indirect swipe at Mr. Rajapaksa when he said that he would not harbour prime ministerial ambitions.
“I do not dream of becoming the Prime Minister. Yet, nobody will be able to realize prime ministerial ambitions if the party is divided,” he told a news conference.