Wigneswaran's TPC heading for trouble
Sampanthan takes NPC CM to task, Pasupathy rejects
invite to draft new proposal:
Although President Maithripala Sirisena has claimed he perceived no
problem with regard the TNA's dissident political front, the Tamil
People's Council (TPC), political observers say new developments
indicate the Council, given the current political atmosphere, will
invariably be a short-lived endeavour.
leader R. Sampanthan has already taken TPC leader and Northern
Provincial Council (NPC) Chief Minister (CM) C. V. Wigneswaran to task
for his role in creating the Council, pointing out that he was nominated
by the party's main constituent the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK),
to run for the September 2013 NPC polls as a TNA candidate, and that was
elected by the people on the TNA manifesto, which clearly featured the
nature of a political package to them.
He had accused Wigneswaran of violating his commitment and obligation
to the people after having obtained their mandate on the TNA manifesto.
He had also pointed out that those who formed the TPC, together with
Wigneswaran, are leaders of Tamils political parties who were totally
rejected by the people in past elections.
Tilting the balance further, one of TPC's frontliners and leader of
TNA constituent, the Eelam People's Revolutionary Front (EPRL) Suresh
Premachandran, a former parliamentarian who strongly opposed the TNA on
its moderate stand over a political package for the Tamils, has stated
he would now work with both the TNA and the TPC.
Dealing another blow to the TPC, Chairman of the TNA- controlled NPC
C. V. K. Sivagnanam and ministers of the council have openly criticised
Wigneswaran for intentionally launching the political front which, they
claim, will weaken the TNA. Expressing solidarity with the TNA and its
political objectives, Sivagnanam has predicted the TPC "will be blown
away with the wind before too long".
Meanwhile, former Attorney General (AG) and constitutional expert,
Siva Pasupathy, who worked for the LTTE after serving his full term as
AG and helped draft the LTTE's infamous Internal Self-Government
Authority (ISGA), had turned down a request from Wigneswaran to join the
TPC as his personal representative on the sub-committee on
Pasupathy had reportedly told Wigneswaran in no uncertain terms that
any radical proposal will delay a solution to the Tamil problem that is
now being worked out by the government in consultation with the TNA.
Many believe this to be in reciprocation to the government's good will
gesture of de - proscribing eight pro-LTTE Diaspora organisations. These
include the Australian Tamil Congress, the Canadian Tamil Congress,
Global Tamil Forum, National Council of Canadian Tamils, Tamil National
Council, Tamil Youth Organisation and the World Tamil Co-ordinating
Australia-based Siva Pasupathy who had gone to Jaffna on a
private-visit last week was approached by Wigneswaran to be his
representative on the TPC's sub-committee to draft proposal on the
But Pasupathy had outright rejected the idea of a separate political
front and a separate proposal at a time when things are moving in the
right direct towards a political solution.
He had also stated that the new front will contribute to disunity
among the Tamils, when unity is the dire need of the hour.
The TNA is now in the process of formulating its proposal to the
Constitution Council as solution to the Tamil issue.
Explaining the salient features of the proposal, a party stalwart on
conditions of anonymity told the Sunday Observer the proposal "will be
based on a unified Northeastern Province, within a united Sri Lanka.
However, he said the proposal would call for unfettered power-sharing
arrangements to administer their own affairs in regard inter-alia to
development, infrastructure, culture, language, religion and land.
The TNA is also holding consultations with the Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) which mainly represents the Muslims of the North and
It has not been possible to find out whether the SLMC will endorse
the TNA proposal or submit its own separate proposal.
TPC's sub-committee on constitutional reform met in Jaffna for the
first time on Saturday, January 2. The panel, which has representatives
from several Tamil parties, including the ITAK, the main constituent of
the TNA, is expected to finalise its proposals by January 30.
The proposals will be thrown open for public comment and a final set
of proposals will be submitted to the Constitutional Assembly by
March-April, according to TPC sources.
The proposal is likely to be based on the 'Thimpu Principles', the
main feature of which would be the right of the Tamils to
self-determination, according the sources.
Wigneswaran in choosing Pasupathy as his nominee, is likely to have
expected the latter to take a radical line on the constitutional
question stressing the need to abide by the 'Thimpu Principles' put
forward by Tamil militants in 1985. The most important demand of the
militants then was the recognition of the Tamils' right to
self-determination. Pasupathy would also have been go by Wigneswaran's
theory that the Tamils have been subject to 'continuous genocide' since
1948 and that radical remedial measures will have to be taken. Although
the TPC is diverse in composition, its main prop, the Tamil National
Peoples' Front (TNPF) is a firm believer in self-determination,
according to reports.
The TPC has the backing of certain pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora
organisations, especially the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
led by V. Rudrakumaran, and constitutional experts from overseas are
also expected come down to Jaffna for consultations on the drafting
process, sources said. The TPC is of the view that the TNA is supporting
the incumbent government and is unlikely to work for a 'just solution'
to the Tamil problem.
On December 26, one week after the launch of the TPC, leader of the
TNA R. Sampanthan held one-on-one talks with Wigneswaran on ironing out
inter-party differences. Although Sampanthan had said that the talks
were cordial and constructive, Wigneswaran backed out and attended the
second meeting of the TPC the following day.
Commenting on the formation of the TPC, Sampanthan said the TNA was
elected by the Tamil people to address issues pertaining to their
future. "There is a mandate given to the TNA at successive elections. We
do not expect that mandate to be disturbed in any way by any person who
has been elected on the same votes of the Tamil people. As a nominee of
the TNA, and with a party to that mandate, we also observed that persons
who have been rejected by the people are members of this so called body.
We are actively engaged in fulfilling the mandate given to us by our
people", he said.
The TNA too is now in the process of holding discussions with the Sri
Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and other stakeholders on drafting its own
proposals. Chairman of the Northern of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC)
and forefront member of the TNA's main constituent, the ITAK, told the
Sunday Observer that 'One Country, Two Nations' concept would be the
ideology behind the proposal that the TNA would submit.