Former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran says it is significant to note that the Sinhala Candidates from the main political alliances from the South were not prepared to discuss the 13-point requests of the five Tamil parties with them.
Instead they have come forward to release their respective Election Manifestos only, he said responding to a question from Tamil journalists.
He said that the Election Manifesto of Podujana Peramuna candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa deals mainly with economic reliefs.
“When economic problems are solved the other problems too get solved seems to be the tone of his Manifesto. But he did not come forward with any solution to the ethnic problem,” the former CM said.
He said that on the other hand Sajith Premadasa in his Manifesto has said “Maximum devolution of power within an undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka will be implemented”.
But just before such a statement in Page 16 to his Manifesto he has stated as follows: “We will protect the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence to our motherland. We will bring Government decision making closer to the people”
However, he claims that in the Sinhala version this portion appears to be different. He said the Tamil Version and the English Version use the word Unity while in Sinhala the word used is ‘Ekiyathvaya’ which denotes oneness or unitary.
Vigneswaran said the correct word that should have been used in Sinhala was ‘Eksathvaya’. “That is why the United National Party is called ‘Eksath Jathika Pakshaya’. We do not call the Party ‘Ekiya Jathika Pakshaya’ or Single National Party.”
It was the desire of the Founders of the Party to bring disparate people together under one Party which prompted them to call the Party as United National Party, he said.
“There must have been an ulterior motive in using such a word in Sinhala, dissimilar to what has been used in the English and Tamil Versions.”
He said that comparatively the Election Manifesto of Sajith Premadasa has certain benefits towards the day to day problems of the Tamils, however the “basic problems of the Tamils such as the right of internal self determination, merger of North and East, Federalism, the sovereignty of the Tamil Nation have not been referred to directly in his Manifesto.”
He added: “Therefore how could our people support yet another manifesto which is not transparent and frank? Further it has differences between the Sinhala version on the one hand and the English and Tamil versions on the other. Could we instruct our people to trust such documents and vote for the Candidate concerned?”
“Therefore we stand by our earlier decision. That is we do not have the moral right to point at a Sinhala Candidate from the main Parties / Alliance and ask our people to vote for that person.”
“This is our Party’s considered decision. But we respect the democratic right of our people to cast their votes democratically at an election.”
“Let each individual decide to whom he or she should vote.”