Feature Article

TNPF manifesto cannot be faulted: Brian Senewiratne

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 April 2010, 02:10 GMT]
There has been no “General Election” in Sri Lanka since 1977. Most of the Tamils in the North and East have been effectively disenfranchised and only marginally better than the Plantation Tamils, says Brian Senewiratne. The options for the Tamils in the North and East are limited. They will not vote for the sympathetic left led by Sinhala leaders. This leaves the choice between the two, TNA and the TNPF. If I were a Tamil, there is no way I would vote for the TNA. The TNPF seems to have got the message that the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic regime has to be confronted, and challenged, not pampered. The election choices facing the Plantation Tamils are serious, mainly because their political party is as ruthless as the government. Facing discontent the CWC is intimidating the Left working in the plantations, Brian writes.

Dr Brian Senewiratne
Dr Brian Senewiratne
There has been no “General Election” in Sri Lanka since 1977, nor is there likely to be some for (many?) years to come.

Most of the Tamils in the North and East have been effectively disenfranchised, only marginally better than the Plantation Tamils (‘Indian’) Tamils

Two specific problems face the Tamil people in the North and East – voter intimidation by thugs and hooligans under (Tamil) Government Ministers, and the fact it has not been possible to deliver polling cards to nearly half of the population.

The options for the Tamils in the North and East are limited:

  1. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
  2. The Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF)
  3. One of the Left parties, in particular, the SEP (Socialist Equality Party) under Wije Dias, the NSSP (Nava Sama Samaja Party)under Dr Vickremabahu Karunaratne, or the USP (United Socialist Party) under Siritunga Jayasuriya. All of these leaders are Sinhalese.
Despite all the support given by these Left parties to the Tamils, I cannot see the Tamils “breaking out of the box” and voting for a socialist/left party or a Sinhalese-led party. Such is their thinking.

This leaves the choice between two Tamil parties, the TNA and the TNPF.

If I were a Tamil, there is no way I would vote for the TNA. They seem to be preparing to do exactly what they have been doing for the past 60 years, with disastrous results. They simply have not learned anything from history. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

The TNPF, which split off from the TNA, seems to heve got the message that the fundamental problems facing the Tamil people at the hands of a Sinhala-Buddhist ethnoreligious chauvinistic regime of extreme brutality, has to be confronted, and challenged, not pampered.

Challenging the government is not possible by jumping into bed with them. The manifesto of the TNPF cannot be faulted. But, what the TNPF will achieve, or what can be achieved with a totalitarian regime, is difficult to predict. At least, they have been able to identify and list out in their manifesto, the problems that have got to be addressed if the Tamil people are to live with equality, dignity, and even live at all!

The election choices facing the Plantation ‘Indian’ Tamils are serious, mainly because the political party representing the tea workers is as ruthless as the government it is in bed with.

Facing open discontent among workers to the extent that I find unbelievable (knowing these humble people as well as I do), the CWC is desperately trying to boost its vote. It is doing this by intimidating Opposition parties, especially from the Left, who are working in the Plantations, and, if this fails, will not hesitate to intimidate the workers (voters) themselves. This is what has happened for years, and is not about to change.

If the Tamil people, both in the North and East, and on the tea estates, do not get it right, their long-term outlook, at the hands of the likes of Rajapakase, will be disastrous.

 

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