Wigneswaran endorses Mano’s man in Colombo
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Close on the heels of State Minister Wijeyakala Maheswaran (Jaffna District UNP MP) lamenting that death of their ‘national leader’ Velupillai Prabhakaran in May 2009 was due to the Tamils defeating UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe at Nov 2005 presidential poll, Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) has alleged that moderate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) hadn’t been able to meet the aspirations of the community.
TNA came under fire in Minnal (lightning) hosted by former Nuwara Eliya District UNP parliamentarian J.C. Ranga on Shakthi TV on Dec 31, 2017. The Tamil broadcaster contested April 2010 general election on the UNP ticket though he soon switched his allegiance to the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) and TNPF leader attorney-at-law Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, too, described Prabhakaran as their national leader, while accusing the TNA of failing to achieve Tamils’ aspirations.
Gajendrakumar’s father Kumar was assassinated in early January 2000 in Colombo during Kumaratunga’s presidency.
Minnal host Ranga and the other participant former EPRLF MP Suresh Premachandran refrained from seeking clarification as regards Ponnambalam hailing Prabhakaran as their national leader.
Former UNP MP Ranga, who had been on the UPFA’s National List at Aug 2015 general election though not finally appointed an MP, asserted that TNA heavyweights R. Sampanthan and M.A. Sumanthiran hadn’t been able to secure any concessions from what he called Sinhala government though being close to Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.
Ranga also blamed the TNA for its handling of post-war prisoners’ issue and the ethnic problem.
He pointed out that an influential section of the Tamil electorate expected the TNPF and the Suresh Premachandran’s EPRLF to contest February 10 local government polls under one symbol. However, having quit the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) led TNA, the EPRLF has teamed up with the TULF for local government polls.
Tamil sources said the battle for Tamil votes at the local government polls in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) had taken a new turn with TNA heavyweight Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran throwing his weight behind the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that is in the fray.
National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan leads the UPA.
Sources pointed out that Ganesan, having unsuccessfully contested the last general election on the UNP ticket was campaigning for property investor Shan Kuhavarathan, member of the Western Provincial Council contesting under the ladder symbol. Kuhavarathan had been named the UPA’s mayoral candidate, sources said, adding that the UPA was seeking the support of the Tamil community to elect as many councillors as possible to the CMC. Their effort was to bargain for the post of Deputy Mayor, sources said, pointing out that at the previous council the UPA helped the UNP to form the administration. The UPA had six seats in the last council whereas the UNP won 24 in the 53 member council. Sources said that the ground situation was different this time as under the new system the number of members of the CMC had doubled.
Tamil media recently reported retired Supreme Court judge Wigneswaran endorsement of Ganesan and Kuhavarathan much to the discomfort of the UPA’s rivals, sources said.
However, TNA sources told The Island that the coalition hadn’t taken a decision in respect of the CMC poll and was unlikely to appeal for support on behalf of any party. Sources said that the TNA would be able to ascertain the ground situation in the Jaffna peninsula by next week.
Meanwhile, well informed Tamil sources said that Sri TELO leader Udaya Rasa had fielded candidates on both SLFP and EPRLF lists in the Vavuniya district. Sources said that Udaya Rasa had quit the TELO, a coalition member of the TNA to strike separate deals with the SLFP and the EPRLF. Responding to a query, sources said that there had never been a case of a particular group fielding candidates through two parties pursuing different agendas. Udaya Rasa had been among those who attended a recent political gathering addressed by President Maithripala Sirisena, sources said, adding that the campaign was hotting up in the Northern Province.