by A. Nillanthan, January 15, 2023
[translated from the original Tamil by Google Translate, with some improvement by the Editor.]
A nation is a great mass of people. Nationalism is the gathering of a mass of people. National politics is the method of a government to gather a mass of people. If we think on this basis, what has been going on for the past few days is definitely not the politics of gathering the nation.
The purpose of the decision of the Tamil Federal Party (ITAK) to contest alone is to push out the partner parties. The Tamil party believes that the partner parties cannot win if they abandon the house symbol. The last general election has defeated that belief. However, the Tamil party believes so. Therefore, by pushing out the partner parties, the Tamil party is giving a challenge to those parties. Show a win without the house symbol.
But they don’t say that challenge openly, they tactfully present a mathematical reason. They say that they asked the partner parties to compete separately to prevent the reduction of the chances of winning due to the mixed electoral system in the local councils. Accordingly, they can vote separately and after proving their strength, they can manage the local councils together. The ITAK’s explanation.
But it is a fact that the Tamil party has been removing the parties that had a tradition of armed struggle within the federation for the last 13 years.
What has been exposed here is not only the partner parties, but Mavai in a way. It seems that his leadership position within the party has further weakened. For the past several months, no less than five parties, namely the partner parties and the parties that have already withdrawn from the TNA federation, have been working together. Mavai also came and went from time to time in this integration. That is why Wigneswaran had made a statement that he was ready to face the local council election by uniting under the leadership of Mavai. During the same period, the partner parties jointly wrote a letter to the president of the federation. They also demanded to strengthen the federation on a broad scale. So the partner parties have been pushed out. Mavai Senathiraja can no longer keep admissions outside the party.
The parties involved knew that this would happen one day. It was expected that this would happen only after Sambandhar. But in a backdrop where Sambandhar’s body and decision-making abilities have begun to falter, the conglomerate he led for more than two decades has disintegrated. But as a leader, he has not given the explanation openly till the date of writing this article. This also shows the deterioration of Tamil politics.
The coalition which has been continuously disintegrating for the last 13 years will no longer be a coalition. At the same time, the parties that left have announced that they are going to form a new coalition. It was expected that if the Democratic Militant Party, Manivannan, Aingaranesan, Ananthi Sasidharan, etc. were to be brought into the coalition and build a huge coalition, it could become a headache for the ITAK. But according to the meeting that took place last Friday, it seems that there is little chance of such a big partnership.
The other parties could not agree with Wigneswaran on the symbol of the new group and who its secretary should be. Wigneswaran was not ready to give up the deer symbol of his party. Whereas it seems that the other parties insisted on the symbol of the party in which a prominent member of the PLOTE movement is the secretary.
Wigneswaran and Manivannan did not accept it. Manivannan joined Wigneswaran’s party. It seems that in the meeting held last Friday, Manivannan and Wigneswaran were on one side and other parties were on the other side. It is also said that Wigneswaran left midway without reaching a general decision.
Even if Wigneswaran eventually agrees with a general decision, does he have the leadership qualities to lead a new development that will challenge the nascent TPR? There is a question. Because he is a leader who doesn’t strengthen his own party. He is the only one visible in his party. Now he has joined Manivannan, too.
The party officials complain that he does not discuss and take decisions within the party. It is alleged that he does not discuss and take decisions not only within the party but also within the new coalition which has been working together for the last several months. There is criticism that the decision to join Manivannan in the party was not taken in such a way.
In the last general election, the Tamil people gave him a unique mandate. It is a mandate that instills confidence that he can win even if he comes out of the house symbol. But he was not able to institutionalize that people’s mandate into a great party. Thus, the answer to the question of how a person who cannot build his own party will build a new coalition against the ITAK, which has a long tradition and is strong from within, is important.
Also, Wigneswaran did not agree to merge the Democratic Militant Party into the new alliance. The reason he gave for that was that the Democratic Militant Party had not already been included in the coalition of parties, and after the parties that had already worked together had reached an understanding agreement, they could think about merging the Democratic Militant Party as well.
The reason could be anything, but who is united after last Friday’s meeting? Who stands apart? If you look at it, all the organizations that were involved in the armed struggle earlier have become one. This includes the party of the former LTTE leader.
Thus a total of four groups or four combinations have emerged in the Tamil area. Sometime in the future some of these groups may go for a new integration among themselves.
But if an election is held as it stands now, there is a high risk of the Tamil vote being dispersed by parties. During the previous elections, there was a proverb that said, “The fish is still in the pan even if it melts”, but that cannot be said anymore. That was the lesson of the last general election. The TNA federation lost its monopoly during the last general election. The illusion of not being able to win by going outside the house symbol was broken, but at the same time, the anti-federal alternative did not emerge as a strong coalition. So the pro-government parties won three of the seats lost by the TNA federation party.
It seems that this is the situation from now on. Are the Tamil people going to disperse into parties instead of coming together as a nation? And in what kind of a period have such divisions occurred?
This was a period when the government invited Tamil representatives for talks. At the same time, this is a period when the Tamil people who have migrated to Canada have achieved a turning point and this should not reduce the bargaining during the negotiation period. If the bargaining should not decrease, for the Tamil people, national integration should be strengthened. But no Tamil party seems to have that vision. On the one hand, the diaspora Tamil people have won another victory in their struggle for justice, but at the same time, the parties in the motherland are dispersing the Tamil people into parties and voters instead of uniting them as a nation.