The newly formed alliance of three minor Tamil parties in Sri Lanka has decided to support the government party, United National Party (UNP).
The Democratic People’s Front (DPF), a minority party for the Western Province Tamils led by Mano Ganesan, the National Union of Workers (NUW) and Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) recently formed an alliance to represent the Tamils living in areas other than the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern part of the country.
The National Union of Workers is led by the Minister of Plantation Infrastructure Development Palani Digambaram and the Upcountry People’s Front is led by State Minister for Education S. Radhakrishnan.
In the wake of three upcountry Tamil parties deciding to join hands with the United National Party (UNP), Arumugam Thondaman-led Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) said today it would continue as an ally of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
The Democratic People’s Front (DPF), the National Union of Workers (NUW) and Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) had earlier formed an alliance and decided to contest the election under the elephant symbol of the UNP.
CWC Leader Muttu Sivalingam told his party would stick with the UPFA. “We will announce our strategy when the election is declared. But as of now we have decided to stick with the UPFA,” he said. When asked about the new three-party alliance representing estate Tamils, he said ,”This is nothing new. They were together earlier. They have announced it as an alliance now. There is actually nothing new about it,” he said.
The TPA does not include the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) led by Arumugan Thondaman though it is the largest IOT trade union cum political party in Sri Lanka.
Asked why CWC is not included, TPA President Mano Ganesan told Express, that he had found it difficult to work with the CWC.UPF’s Radhakrishnan said that the CWC is politically inconsistant. The TPA,he explained, is a politically oriented outfit going beyond, but not excluding, wage issues.The CWC is more of a trade union than a political party.
Ganeshan pointed out that while the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Muslim parties have political agendas and fight for the political rights of their respective cimmunities, no party of the IOT has so far had a political goal, or a road map for the attainment of the political rights of the IOT. Their concern has been restricted to the wage issue in the plantations. Thigambaram said that even a critical issue like housing for the plantation workers had not been taken up.
Ganeshan said that the IOT face issues relating political representation at all levels of the democratic set up.Electoral constituencies and Pradeshiya Sabhas have to be reorganized to correct inequities and to increase the representation of the IOT.
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Ganeshan pointed out that while the problems of the North Eastern Tamils and the Muslims are highlighted in the media and international forums, no one talks about the plight of the IOT.
“The TPA will take the IOT’s issue to both the national and international levels,” he said.