COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’ Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran on Sunday publicly lashed out at “concentration of power” in the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the party to which he belongs.
ITAK is the single largest constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Striking a belligerent note in his address at the 125th anniversary function of Jaffna Hindu College, Wigneswaran vowed to stick to his convictions and urged the younger generation to do likewise.
“In certain political parties one or two persons are taking all decisions. These power centers expect others to accept the decisions they take. If others point out deficiencies in these decisions, they are branded as opposition parties,” he said.
Though Wigneswaran did not mention the ITAK, it was clear that the cap fitted it. He has been having a cold war with the ITAK leadership troika comprising R.Sampanthan, M.A.Sumanthiran and Mavai Senathirajah. While the ‘troika’ views the Supreme Court judge-turned Chief Minister as their protégé who should take orders from them, Wigneswaran feels that he got elected on the strength of his own credentials as a Tamil nationalist. On Sunday, he said that he was a Tamil nationalist at heart even while being a judge.
While the troika has been veering towards cooperation with the new and liberal Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government at the Center, Wigneswaran feels that the Tamils have not got much from the change of regime. He feels that the TNA should keep up its uncompromising line on the Tamil question.
In the run up to the August 17 parliamentary elections, Wigneswaran unilaterally issued a statement saying that he would be “neutral” and appealed to the Tamils to vote for genuine and un-buyable Tamil nationalists. The ITAK leadership took this as an endorsement of the radical Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF). They charged that ITAK/TNA lost two seats because of Wigneswaran’s statement.
When the matter was raised at the last ITAK Executive Committee meeting, it was decided to have talks at the highest level. But clearly, the talks, if held, were fruitless. Wigneswaran continues to be belligerent and an irritant to the ITAK leadership.