Pillaiyan’s giant steps to CM’s chair
The people of the East ended a dark era full of terror, officially
exercised their franchise heralding the message that they want ‘peace
and live in unity. They put an end to the barbaric ‘Hitler like’ regime
under Velupillai Prabhakaran, who suppressed their fundamental to life.
On that decisive day - May 10 - the people of the East embraced
democracy with a belief to rebuild their lives which were in shatters
for the past two decades. The people who witnessed war at one time were
now experiencing the dawn of a new era, with a new set of politicians,
who were also victims of an unrealisable dream. A separate homeland for
Tamils - the Eelam.
Amidst heavy criticisms of manipulation of polls and also with fine
commendations from the international monitors that the Eastern
provincial Council elections, which was held after 14-years were ‘free
and fair’, the government was able to record a significant victory
securing the majority of votes.
The victory of the Eastern polls is a testimony to the efforts of the
Mahinda Rajapaksa government which liberated the people of the East thus
putting an end to terrorism.
The pledges of the government after liberating the East, step by step
- Mavil Aru, Sampur, Vakarai and the LTTE’s last bastion, Thoppigala -
did not turn just into broken promises. Allocating over Rs. 6,000
million, the entire province was reawakened under the ‘Neganahira
The local government elections held for the Batticaloa district after
14 years, gave the people a sense of political freedom. The right to
franchise was commenced and people were given a feeling that they are
part of one country and not under the paws of the LTTE any longer.
No one can deny the fact that the LTTE’s break-away group led by
‘Col.’ Karuna Amman that initiated it by reducing the strength of the
LTTE in the Eastern province.
Later the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) formed by Karuna
Amman, Pillaiyan and others were instrumental in bringing in democracy
to the Eastern province and can, we disregard the efforts of this group
that consists of hardcore LTTE cadres who were trained only for killing,
now embracing democracy.
Today their efforts have borne fruits. While the Security Forces
provided security for the province, the people of the East needed a
strong Tamil political leadership which can be a strong shield against
In its election campaign, the TMVP, which contested under the UPFA,
had grimly reminded the fact that the Tamils were denied their rights
and had suffered under the LTTE in the decades long war, and it was
better to have a Tamil Chief Minister who could look into their problems
So, on this score the other ethnic groups, Muslims and the Sinhalese
living in the Province too had suffered and lived their fearful lives
for decades without peace and harmony.
Amidst talks of pre-election pledges, broken promises and future
political repercussions, ending another controversial political drama,
the 33 year-old Sivanesaturai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan was sworn
in as the first Chief Minster of the Eastern Province before President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, last Friday.
Vowing to carry out his duties as the Chief Minister without any bias
towards any ethnic group in the multi -ethnic Eastern province, the
former child soldier and later, a hardcore LTTE militant speaking in his
native language - Tamil, said that their journey to democracy was not a
bed full of roses but one with ‘thorny’ attacks from all the sides.
“We faced many challenges in this march to democracy”, he said
addressing a large gathering, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Ministers, at the Temple Trees.
Chandrakanthan said that the people of the East have given a mandate
to those who were armed to give up arms and make them aware that the
rights of the Tamil people can not be won through an arms struggle but
only through democracy.
The Chief Minister, who is also saddled with other portfolios -
Finance, Justice, Plan Implementation, Human Resources Development,
Public Administration, Tourism, Resettlement and Rehabilitation said
that the Eastern victory would give them an opportunity to develop the
economy, education and infrastructure of the province.
“The people of the East were denied their rights for decades and now
they breathe fresh air”, he said.
Abducted at the age of 15, the country’s youngest Chief Minister who
swam together with Col. Karuna Amman against the LTTE’s tidal waves, in
search of democracy later found the TMVP. After his leader was arrested
in London on charges of carrying a forged passport, the TMVPers led by
Chandrakanthan became the rear guard against the LTTE in the East.
Resembling a typical child soldier, the diminutive Chief Minister
thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa government for giving him a proper leadership
for the group to believe in democracy and said that the new
administration led by him would not betray the trust kept on them by the
President Mahinda Rajapaksa warmly welcoming the new Chief Minister
said that the new Provincial Council should be the guiding star of
democracy and would set an example to the whole country.
“Today a new beam of light dawns upon democracy in this country,
since it is the day, the people of the East come under a democratic
administration after several decades of gun-culture.
It is also the day for those who had depended on the bullet have now
abandoned those weapons and turned to become genuine representatives of
the down trodden masses”, he said.
Urging the new Eastern provincial administration to work towards a
common goal and treat all communities alike without discrimination, the
President Rajapaksa said that the credit of the whole success should go
to the brave soldiers who shed blood to reach this achievement.
“The valiant soldiers of the three Forces and the Police have
sacrificed there lives you to enjoy the freedom”, he said.
The President said that for the first time the government was able to
establish the Provincial Council in the East. The desire of implementing
the system has failed earlier and the problems of the people in the
region were never looked into.
“We have been able to meet that difficult task as a solution to solve
the problems of the Tamils and to give them the opportunity to select
their own representatives to look into the issues related to them”, he
said. Reminding the new provincial councillors the importance of living
together, the President said: “Let us think as Sri Lankans first”.