The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main Tamil political party alliance has shown the maturity of the majority of its leaders, by its decision to have its newly-elected Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran sworn in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa. After all the first Chief Minister of the Northern Province has expressed his allegiance to the Republic and declared yesterday that he would uphold and defend the country’s Constitution and it is understandably appropriate for him as a former Supreme Court judge to do so before the Head of the State, rather than doing it before the leader of his party, which in fact is a regional entity.
" The Diaspora must respect the political thinking of those living here. They must respect the courage with which they make decisions, and their ability to determine their own political destiny "
It would also be a good legal as well as political defence for the TNA itself which is invariably branded as a party that carries forward the secessionist agenda of the LTTE, the outfit once called by the very TNA leaders the sole representative of the Tamil people. Whatever said during the recent Provincial Council election campaign, especially at Velvettithurai - the hometown of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran – the new Chief Minister of the Northern Province is now part and parcel of the administrative machinery of the country. He has a duty to guide his voters not towards the subversion that mechanism, but to make maximum use of it.
Initially, there had been, it was reported, opposition by some against the suggestion of the TNA leader to make Wigneswaran take his oaths before the President, on the grounds that the vote received by him was primarily a negative vote or one against the government of President Rajapaksa. Hence to be sworn in before the leader of the same government was a betrayal of the sentiments of the people who voted for Wigneswaran in large numbers. In spite of that contention holding water to some extent, what eluded them was the difference between the head of government and the head of the state - which becomes razor-thin when both positions are held by the same person, as in the case of Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Diaspora and the leaders of Tamil Nadu are inferably not happy with the conciliatory move by the TNA leaders, as they always pushed for a separate State for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, despite repeated public pronouncements by the TNA leaders that they were for maximum devolution within a united country, and not for a separate State. The pressure that was being exerted on the local Tamil leaders by the Diaspora was vividly evident by the advice to the Diaspora by TNA leader R. Sampanthan at the 14th Convention of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) held in May last year in Batticaloa. He said “However, those who live abroad must think beyond their personal estimations and ideas, and always give importance to the situation of those living in the homeland. The Diaspora must respect the political thinking of those living here. They must respect the courage with which they make decisions, and their ability to determine their own political destiny. The Diaspora must have trust in these capabilities of the Tamil people living here. The Diaspora’s political initiatives, and public statements on behalf of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka must not negatively affect the situation here; they must not prove to be obstacles to our efforts here. It is the efforts that are made by the people in Sri Lanka, which are made in accordance with the situation in Sri Lanka, and with sensitivity to this situation that will finally bring about concrete results for the Tamil Nation.”
Wigneswaran too in a recent interview with the “The Hindu” amidst the election campaign called on Tamil Nadu leaders to leave the Sri Lankan Tamils alone. The interests of these groups in Tamil Nadu and the Diaspora are clearly a far cry from those of local Tamils. It is important for the TNA leaders, especially the new Chief Minister of the NPC to be wary of these pressures, despite their being exerted in the name of Sri Lankan Tamils.