Leader of Opposition: Between `Devil & Deep Blue Sea’!
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as the main Opposition Party is faced with a difficult situation of being caught between the `devil and the deep blue sea’ in the current crisis situation in the politics of Sri Lanka.
The TNA’s role was very significant in ousting Mahinda Rajapaksa regime in January 2015 and creating a unique Government under the banner of `good governance’ bringing together the main National parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
It was for the first time in the political history of Sri Lanka, TNA a prominent political alliance from the Tamil dominant Northern and Eastern Provinces with the intention of stabilizing peace and reconciliation created the National Unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
However, within a three-year period the so called `good governance’ has now turned into a mockery with President Maithripala Sirisena removing Ranil Wickremesinghe from the position of Prime Minister and making his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa his new Prime Minister.
As the whole country now remains in a clueless state of what would happen next, Mahinda and Ranil factions are focused on strengthening their sides to prove their majority in Parliament.
It is at this juncture the main Opposition party Tamil National Alliance is in a critical state of taking its own decision with regard to falling in line with the Constitution and paving way for the new Prime Minister.
As far as the voters in the North and the East are concerned they had rejected the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa and brought into power President Maithripala Sirisena with great expectations to solve their post-war grievances with the support of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Therefore, as the TNA had spearheaded the campaign in a big way to oust the Rajapaksa regime and to create the so called `good governance’ three years ago, the Tamil Alliance is now in a thoroughly disappointed state as far as the pledges it made in its Presidential and Parliamentary election manifestos three years ago.
In country’s best interest
Soon after the change occurred in the Premiership a week ago Leader of the Opposition and the TNA R. Sampanthan expressed his views saying that any decision on his part would be taken in the best interest of the country as well as taking into consideration the expectations of the people in the North and the East.
He also pointed out as the country was engaged in the process of bringing out a new Constitution and the TNA focused on the implementation of the UNHRC Resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in Geneva, the Tamil Alliance would take the right decision at the right time.
On the other hand TNA’s Jaffna District Parliamentarian and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai S. Senathirajah commenting on the current crisis situation has stated that TNA would take its stance after consulting with India.
As the voters in the North and the East who had supported overwhelmingly the TNA’s call to oust Rajapaksa regime three years ago, they would expect the Tamil Alliance to stand by the mandate given by them despite whatever the changes occurred in the South.
The recent political atmosphere in the North has indicated the fragile state of the TNA with former Northern Chief Minister
C. V. Wigneswaran leaving the Tamil Alliance and forming his own political party soon after the Northern Provincial Council’s first term came to an end a week ago.
In the present political situation Muslim political parties and the parties from the upcountry can be wavering with regard to their political stances.
But the people in the North and the East will be very firm on the TNA that it won’t go against the mandate they had given to it three years ago in 2015.
From the time the change in the Premiership has occurred a week ago, more than thinking on the Island Nation’s political stability, several countries have expressed their concerns on the basis of their geo-political interests in the South Asian region.
India’s former Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh accompanied by India’s political `think tank’ Dr. S. D. Muni had arrived in the Island on last Thursday (1) to study the present political situation and met Leader of the Opposition and the TNA Sampanthan considering TNA remains a key factor in the current political scenario.
Several foreign envoys including the Resident Representative of the United Nations in Colombo, Hana Singer, have met Leader of the Opposition Sampanthan and emphasized on need of taking any decision upholding the Constitution and the dignity of Parliament.
The TNA leader in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition has already told ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that in the present political context he would stand by the Constitution of the country and will not go against the mandate given to the TNA by the people in the North and the East.
So, as several interesting developments are expected to unfold in the days to come as far as taking decisions in the present political atmosphere, TNA as the main Opposition party is now in a state of being between the `devil and the deep blue sea’.