Political solution and election results in the North & East-Is the SLFP leadership JHU?

| by Jayampathy Wickramaratne

(September 14, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is two years since a summary of the decisions of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) was handed over by its Chairman, Minister Tissa Vitarana to the President. The summary was not made public and the Presidential Secretariat claimed that no such summary had been handed over. However, Minister Vitarana disputed this. A year later, R. Yogarajan and Nizam Kariapper, who were members of the APRC made the decisions public.

Time and again, the Government has been saying that it is committed to a political solution to the ethnic issue, but nothing meaningful has happened. Senior Ministers are said to have told the Tamil National Alliance that while the SLFP had no issues with a political solution, the problem was that its allies, Jathika Hela Urumaya and the National Freedom Front, were strongly opposed to any concessions leading to a political solution.Although the President has assured India that he was willing to go further than the 13th Amendment, his actions and statements within the country are to the contrary. No steps whatsoever have been taken to fully implement the 13th Amendment, despite complaints from the Chief Ministers and Provincial Councillors.

At the recent local elections, the Government worked extra hard to win the councils in the Tamil areas and impress the world of its support from the Tamils. Ministers set up camp. The Tamil people were offered anything and everything- air strips, sports stadia, roads, you name it- except of course a political solution. There have been reports of the deployment of not only the usual government machinery that is used during elections but even of the armed forces to achieve this end. When even Mr Buddhadasa who topped UPFA preferences at Kaduwela says that his arch rival, Minister Weerawansa, used state resources in his failed attempt to get the latter’s nominee top the preferences and that all Police stations in the area supported Weerawansa, one can imagine what may have happened in the North.

Campaigning in the North, President Rajapakse made his position clear. He said that certain short- sighted, narrow-minded parties are talking about the 13th Amendment without considering the development or welfare of the people living in the North and East. He also said that he did not need advice from the Western and “other “countries, an obvious reference to India. To him, devolution and
development seemed mutually exclusive.

How did the Tamil people react? Polling was quite substantial; very good for democracy. How did they vote? Except the three local authority areas which have been under the control of the EPDP for long, the Tamil parties won all Tamil-majority councils in the North and East convincingly. The Government made a special effort to win Kilinochchi but failed. The Tamil people have spoken and with a clear voice.

“Thank you for development but we need to be in the decision-making process. We need the power to do so”. It is also a vote against military domination and for return to civilian rule.

  Source: WameIwura                                                                             

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