Southern political forces fear TNA's strength - Sampanthan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 February 2004, 20:30 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader and the lead candidate of the party in the Trincomalee electoral district, Mr.R.Sampanthan, said that southern political forces are jittery that the TNA would be returned with about twenty seats to the new parliament in the April polls as a kingmaker, addressing TNA activists Sunday morning at the Hindu Cultural Hall in the eastern port town.

TNA election strategy meeting in Trincomalee
Mr.Sampanthan addressing party activists Sunday.

"I have received information that some political elements in the south have been contemplating the filing of a legal case after the April polls to invalidate the election held in northeast, alleging violation of democratic rules,” the TNA leader said.

About five hundred party activists attended the meeting, which was summoned to work out an election strategy in support of the TNA candidates contesting in the Trincomalee district, sources said. Mr.K.Thurairajah presided.

Mr.Sampanthan further said,” The Tamil national question has become the only subject being debated in the southern election platforms by major Sinhala political parties. President Chandrika Kumaratunge says she would recommence peace talks with the LTTE if she came to power. She further says she is not for a renewed war. Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe also says the same thing.”

"The international community is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the April polls and especially the verdict of the northeast Tamil voters," said Mr. sampanthan, adding that the TNA has been contesting the forthcoming general election to strengthen the hands of LTTE in taking forward the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals, which it had submitted to the government on 31st October 2003.

TNA election strategy meeting in Trincomalee
A section of the party activists who attended the TNA meeting Sunday.

Other Tamil political parties contesting in the northeast could go to LTTE held areas and do election propaganda. LTTE will not prevent them from canvassing in their controlled areas, said the TNA's leader. "Without going to LTTE held areas due to their weakness, it is unwise to make allegation that the LTTE has been obstructing their election propaganda."

Attorney-at-Law Mr.R.N.Varathan, who contested in the United National Party list in the Trincomalee district in the 2001 general elections, said he would work and vote for the TNA and its symbol HOUSE in order to strengthen the hands of the LTTE in the future peace talks. Mr. Varathan is the only son of a senior leader of the UNP, the late Mr.V.R.Navaratnarajah, who was a member of the UNP working committee during the 1977 elections. Mr.Navaratnarajah contested Trincomalee district in two general elections as a UNP candidate, sources said

The TNA's other candidates for the Trincomalee district, Messrs K.Thurairetnasingham, S.Gowri Muhunthan, A.H.Sahul Hameed, K.Ragunathan, S.Shanmuganathan, and V.Vigneswaran, also spoke.

TNA election strategy meeting in Trincomalee
( L-R-) Mr. Atputhan, a leading activist of the LTTE in Trincomalee, Attorney-at-Law Mr.Sivapalan, Attorney -at-Law Mr.Varathan, TNA candidates Messrs K.Ragunathan, K.Thurairatnasingham, Gowri Muhunthan, R.Sampanthan, S.Shanmuganathan, A.H.Sahul Hameed, V.Vikneswaran are seen on the stage


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