| by N.S.Venkataraman
( September 24, 2013, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is good that the elections to Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka has been concluded in an orderly and largely peaceful manner. While there were many international observers closely monitoring the election campaign and the poll, there is near unanimous view that the poll has been conducted in a fair manner . Certainly, the Sri Lankan government and President of Sri Lanka deserve appreciation and compliments.
The overwhelming majority gained by the Tamil National Alliance is being interpreted by different agencies based on their own perspectives. While some have described the election results as reflecting the lack of confidence of majority of voters in the Sri Lankan government, there are others who describe it as negative votes for Tamil National Alliance. Some have even gone to the extent of interpreting the results as in favour of separate Tamil state. All these interpretations seem to be biased and unacceptable.
In the background and circumstances in which the elections for the Northern Provincial Council has taken place, it is natural that an average voter would like to vote for someone who are of Tamil origin and therefore expected to show greater understanding of the problems of the Tamil population, that would help them find solutions better. Of course, in the process, the Tamil National Alliance has got a huge opportunity and the leadership should have the vision and wisdom to consolidate the gains and forge ahead.
Tamil National Alliance has certainly made it clear about their commitments to the integrity of Sri Lanka and they have the responsibility to show in practice that they really stand by this commitment. If the Tamil National Alliance would allow some fringe elements to misinterpret the verdict and start talking about the “struggle for liberation”, it would become counterproductive and do great harm to the interest and welfare of Tamil population in Sri Lanka. Since the Tamil National Alliance is yet untested , one has to keep the fingers crossed and pray that the wisdom would prevail.
In the recent post war period, Sri Lankan government has certainly restored certain level of order in the day today life of the Tamil population and have restored their dignity to a good extent. The task is not yet complete but Sri Lankan government certainly gives an impression that it is earnest in its efforts and approach.
Now that the North Eastern Council election has been completed , the Sri Lankan President should strive to build an appropriate , healthy and progressive working relationship with the new government , that call for statesmanship approach that should convince everyone around and give confidence to the new government that would be formed.
There are some fears expressed that the new government would not have enough powers to usher in reforms and implement appropriate development projects on its own . But, all these pin pricks and hurdles can be sorted out, if the new government would adopt progressive policies and maintain smooth relationship with the central government , without falling into the trap of hate mongers.
Of course, the Sri Lankan government has to monitor the situation very carefully to ensure that separatists would not get upper hand and violent prone movements would not be allowed to come up again. The Sri Lankan government would be well justified in taking the necessary steps to ensure such conditions. Obviously, the army has to be kept in position atleast for a few more years, which is unavoidable in the present delicate conditions in the region.
There is absolutely no doubt that the vote exercised by the vast segment of Tamil population in the Northern Provincial Council is a vote for peace and harmony and is a vote reflecting the aspirations of the common man for peaceful , progressive and forward looking life. The Tamil population have undergone enormous sufferings during the war period and certainly they would not like to see similar days again.