There are indications that the northern centre stage of politics has begun to crack following Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s establishment of the Tamil People’s Council (TPC).
Reports from Jaffna stated it has caused much concern within and outside the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as other political groups view Wigneswaran’s move as a step towards embarking indirectly to strengthen his political bastion in the North.
The council also includes former TNA MPs such as Suresh Premachandran and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. Incidentally, both Ponnambalam and Premachandran failed to enter Parliament after having lost the General Elections in 2010 and 2015 respectively.
Wigneswaran stated that the Council would not be a political entity but would work towards addressing issues of Tamil speaking people.
However, the formation of the Council comes in the backdrop of continuous verbal spat between Wigneswaran and TNA Parliamentarian, M.A. Sumanthiran where the latter alleged that the Chief Minister had failed to back the TNA on several key issues including the call for involvement of the international community in the domestic mechanism to probe allegations of war crimes.
The formation of the Council has created ripples in Tamil political circles, where it is felt that such a development would create a further dent in the progress of the TNA towards its main goal of finding a durable solution to the longstanding national question.
However, TNA MP and leader of the Ilankai Thamil ArasuKatchi (ITAK), MavaiSenathirajah speaking to Nation stated that the Council would not affect the TNA as the people had already given a mandate to the alliance and added that its manifesto had been accepted by the people. “Anyone is free to form any Forum or Council. But, if they attempt to sabotage the TNA, then we would take necessary action to prevent such activities,” he said.
The council, despite being a non-political entity, has already started work on setting up two sub committees, one to draft a set of proposals to solve the national question, and the other to look at allegations of war crimes committed during the final phase of the war. Accordingly, the TPC would appoint a sub-committee today (27) to draft a set of proposals to solve the national issue.
Premachandran alleged that the lethargic nature of the TNA and its Parliamentary Group Leader, R. Sampanthan had turned to be an obstacle for the Tamils to place their demands. “The TNA does not have any proposals to be laid before the government to solve the issues faced by the Tamils. This has prompted us to do the needful,” Premachandran told Nation.
The issue has also sparked speculations of disciplinary action by the TNA on Wigneswaran and Premachandran. Senathirajah stated that the TNA would take action only if the members attempt to sabotage the TNA.
However, Premachandran stated that the TNA cannot take action since it was not a registered political party and it had no recognized leadership