? There have been rumours that the TNA would join the UNP alliance –The United National Front for Good Governance?
A. No. We are actually waiting until the election is over to decide. We will not form an alliance with any political party. After the election we will discuss with the party that comes into power.
At the last election we joined the alliance of President Maithripala Sirisena but now I am not sure what has happened to him with him giving Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations.
? Do you think the TNA will have competition in the North and East at the election?
A. There is no competition. The TNA will sweep all the districts. We already control all the Pradeshiya Sabhas and the Northern Provincial Council. Neither the UNP nor the SLFP will be a challenge to the TNA.
? What about the EPDP? They are contesting independently this time?
A. Last time, the EPDP managed to get three seats, this time they will not even get a single seat. They are choosing to work closely with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government which has lost the trust of the people. Not even EPDP leader Douglas Devananda would be able to win his seat back.
? There are allegations that the NPC controlled by the TNA has not delivered much to the people, even after the governor was removed?
A. It is only very recently that the chief secretary and the governor were removed. We have passed the Finance Bills and it is now that they are starting to collect the taxes. The TNA from the beginning has been fighting for the rights of the Tamil people. We had 18 rounds of negotiations with the former government but that proved to be futile. Negotiations with the incumbent government were also started and we are continuing with that.
The EPDP does not want to talk about these things; they just want ministerial portfolios and the perks that come along with it. Though we have always been in the opposition and never accepted any government position, the people trust us and keep voting us in.
? Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has promised that if they were voted into power, he would work towards a model for devolution of power to the provinces. What is your opinion on this?
A. We are prepared to discuss the issues of resettlement as well as a political solution with a new government that comes in. We hope that Ranil Wickremesinghe comes back and that there is a good climate created for discussion.
? In the recent past, many TNA politicians have been alleged to be involved in criminal activities. Recently one was caught for raping 56 women. Does this not tarnish the party’s reputation?
A. In the North and East, small incidents such as these take place. We have asked the Police to arrest them regardless. These are individuals indulging in anti social behaviour. The TNA as a party still enjoys popular support, especially at the grassroots.
? A group of former LTTE cadres are to contest from the party Crusaders for Democracy (CFD). How will this affect the TNA?
A. It will not affect us at all. We welcome the former militants to the democratic process but them joining the TNA was a problem. When they asked us, we told them that we needed more time as we had already decided on the nomination lists and it was not possible to move them around. We told them that we would consider them at the next local government elections. They however, went ahead and registered as an independent group and are contesting separately in Jaffna. People do not accept independent groups.
These former militants are not prominent enough and they have been put forward by certain parties with vested interests-making use of them for their own benefit.