Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, made his own prediction in a sarcastic manner on the forthcoming Presidential polls responding to a question put to him by the Minister and the EPDP Leader, Douglas Devananda and the Opposition Leader of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) S. Thavarasa, at the Kilinochchi District Development Council meeting last week.
Minister Douglas Devananda and the NPC Opposition Leader, S. Thavarasa requested Chief Minister Wigneswaran to submit the details of the financial allocations made to the NPC.
Responding to the request made by Minister Devananda, amidst heated arguments between the EPDP members and the Tamil National Alliance members at the DDC, Wigneswarn said that by the time the financial report was submitted by him next year he doubted whether Minister Devananda would hold his office with the change of government.
The Chief Minister made his prediction on the Presidential polls indirectly to the big laughter of the gathering at the meeting including Devananda who had taken it in a lighter vein.
Crossover in progress
As the crossover is in progress from one side to another in the Southern political arena from the time the announcement for the Presidential poll was made, Tamil National Alliance, which remains a powerful political force in the North and the East has not revealed its stance with regard to the January poll, yet.
Despite agitating over the alleged war crimes in the final phase of the war in 2009, the TNA offered its support at the previous Presidential poll to former Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka, who had played a major role in defeating the LTTE.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), another party with its roots in the Eastern Province, also supported the former Army Chief. However, after his arrest the SLMC did a ‘somersault’ and joined the ruling UPFA with the leader of the party Rauff Hakeem becoming the Minister of Justice.
Right from the beginning the SLMC didn’t have a stable political stance as a political body representing the Muslims in the country. Following the recent violence against Muslims in the island, the SLMC Leader, Rauff Hakeem, even openly said he regretted his party supporting the 18th Amendment.
The Northern Provincial Council polls in 2013 and the recent Uva Provincial Council polls had clearly highlighted the instability experienced by the SLMC in recent years.
Since a few weeks are aloof from the Presidential polls in January; the TNA and the SLMC remain tight-lipped over their stance to be taken towards supporting the presidential candidates. The former United National Party General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, soon after crossing over to the ruling UPFA to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, the TNA has entered into a treaty with the common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena towards extending the Alliance’s support to him and Attanayake also described the treaty as detrimental to the unity and integrity of the country.
The General Secretary of the Tamil National Alliance and the leader of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) Mavai S. Senathiraja denied that the TNA has entered into any treaty with any presidential candidate and the Alliance was only monitoring the ‘stunts’ currently being staged in the southern political forum.
The LTTE factor had been a significant component in the past in deciding the outcome of the Presidential polls. Defeating the LTTE had been the ‘trump’ card in the last Presidential polls.
However, the common opposition forum, instead of hanging on to the LTTE factor, had come out with barrages of accusations pinpointing the alleged corruption in the ruling UPFA.
Even at the recent Uva Provincial Council polls, the voters by their verdict had clearly indicated that the LTTE factor was not going to help the premier southern political parties in convincing the country’s voters in the future.
The Tamil National Alliance spokesperson, Suresh K. Premachandran, in a recent interview with Ceylon Today, said the constituent parties in the Tamil National Alliance had denounced separatism and extremism more than two decades ago with the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord with the introduction of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1987.
According to Premachandran, the TNA is very consistent with regard to its policies and it has been emphasizing on greater devolution to the Northern and Eastern Provinces and on resolving the humanitarian issues since the war came to an end in 2009.
Another prominent TNA Parliamentarian, M.A. Sumanthiran, commenting on the UPFA accusing the Tamil diaspora of revamping the LTTE said, the accusation by the Rajapaksa regime has highlighted it’s political bankruptcy.
Since the present generation of the North and the East had experienced the worst of the civil war, more emphasis is given on greater power sharing between the centre and the North and the East.
The political aspirations of the Tamils were evident at the Northern Provincial Council polls last year.
The UPFA Government has restructured the infrastructure facilities extensively in the North with the resumption of Yal Devi train service to the North nearly after two decades.
But, the Northerners had always clamoured for their political rights, even during the turbulent days they underwent and their verdict in the forthcoming Presidential polls will be crucial in an atmosphere where the day to day ‘somersaults ‘ in the southern political scene have made the voters clueless in deciding their political future.