| by N.S.Venkataraman
( December 1, 2013, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) People of northern province in Sri Lanka have reposed faith in Wigneswaran by voting him to power in recent elections. The people have given him a glorious opportunity to gain place in history by his re building the northern province socially and economically from the terrible scenario that it has faced during the last few decade due to civil strife. He should have the wisdom not to let go this opportunity, by indulging in wasteful and counter productive political one upmanship and polemics.
What the people of northern province need today is forward looking industrial and economic policies from the government and a climate of amity , good will and cooperation. The entire world knows about the problems faced by the people there and have sympathy for them and certainly will come forward to extend whatever support and cooperation that is needed . The government of Sri Lanka would also be keen to do its bit, to undo the damage that has been done to its image abroad by consistent campaign and publicity with regard to the sufferings of the local people in the international media.
Wigneswaran need to exhibit imaginative approach with foresight and long term vision to reap the benefits from such favourable climate for northern province. Such opportunities come to a political leader not frequently and such political leaders are termed as statesman by the history, who can have clear and healthy perspectives and honest and determined motives to do good.
While Wigneswaran has started his chief ministership with a flood of good will, the recent reports about his confrontationist attitude towards the Sri Lankan government are disturbing. He was reported to have tried to inspect the Hindu temples, knowing fully well that it belongs to High Security Zone and visitors require special permission. It is true that he is the chief minister but still he has to see the ground realities and the fact that the region is limping back to normalcy at a slow pace and present time is still sensitive . He was also reported to have participated in LTTE’s great heroes day, creating doubts about his motives. He was also reported to have refused to co chair the District Development Council meetings, as the meeting would be presided over by his political rival and a central minister. These actions and reactions of the chief minister are unfortunately contributing to shifting and diverting the focus of administration of northern province in counter productive directions.
What is badly needed by the people of northern province is economic growth, better living conditions and basic amenities, skill acquisition and job opportunities. Such development oriented activities would inevitably improve the happiness index of the people and contribute to all round development. When people see hopes of improving living conditions and get facilities for quality education and better business environment with entrepreneurial opportunities, they will gain confidence and forge ahead. In such positive scenario, everything would fall in its place including the improvement of Tamil culture and traditions as well as peace and amity. There is no substitute for economic betterment to improve the happiness index of the people.
Wigneswaran has little time to lose, as the people have suffered and are desperately looking for positive and healthy leadership. If he would pre occupy himself with trivial issues , he may get sort of publicity among some section of people who may not be happy with the present arrangement in Sri Lanka but it will be detrimental to the personal interests and image of Wigneswaran.
It is possible in the type of situation prevailing in Sri Lanka today, there are political differences and varying views on priorities. But, everything should ultimately result in economic and social development and lead to welfare projects and that is the test for a pragmatic and intelligent political leader. Wigneswaran should be able to deal with the Sri Lankan government demanding the rights and needs for the northern province which would be a healthy trend. If he would be development oriented in his approach , he will win friends and gain support all round , perhaps including from the members of the Sri Lankan government. There are many Sri Lankans who are not Tamils and who wish Wigneswaran well and want him to succeed for the sake of overall interests of Sri Lanka as a nation.
Wigneswaran need good advisors and he should be able to see his opportunity and strength very clearly and realise that there are no short cuts and that confrontationist attitude does not help any cause.