Monday, January 11, 2010

The TNA’s decision:Revenge politics or ‘Second Operation’ for separatist politics?

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) couple of days ago decided to back Sarath Fonseka at the forthcoming presidential election. Although it was said that the decision was unanimous it seems that the three-way split of the TNA remains unrepaired. All Ceylon Tamil Congress wing of the TNA headed by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has asked Tamil voters to boycott the election on the basis that the Tamils have nothing do with the election of Sinhala leaders. So the usual politics of abstinence has been upheld. In a way, the ACTC decision appears to be much closer to the old position of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). On the other hand, Sivajilingam and his colleagues have accepted the first part of the ACTC position, but emphasised the importance of reentering independent democratic politics. In this sense, his candidacy signifies a qualitative shift in Tamil politics. Anyone who has been following Tamil politics vis-à-vis elections in the last 25 years can easily grasp the logic of these two positions. Sambandan wing of the TNA has refused to accept either of these positions and finally decided to support Sarath Fonseka and his candidacy at the forthcoming presidential election. It is interesting to note that Sambanthan has declared that the support of his wing of the TNA is unconditional and that General (Rtd) Fonseka has not promised anything substantial in relation to Tamil national question. If it is so, how do we explain this position? What led Sambanthan’s wing of the TNA to take a decision to support General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka? How could this riddle be resolved?

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