By Rajah S. Rajasingham –
A committee constituted of representatives from all 5 of the TNA’s constituent parties met today (July 11) in Colombo and broke up without agreement on who their Chief Minister candidate should be. They will meet again tomorrow, July 12, and take a decision.
The representatives of five parties of the TNA alliance who met were R. Sambanthan, Mavai Senathirajah, M.A. Sumanthiran and Selvarajah of the Federal Party, Mr. Sangiah and Mr. Krishnapillai of the TULF, Suresh Premachandran and Sarveswaran of the EPRLF, Selvan Adaikalanathan, Srikantha, Henry Mahenthiran and Karunakaran of the TELO and T. Siddharthan, K. Sivanesan, and Ragavan of the PLOTE.
The meeting went smoothly until nominating the candidate for the Northern Province Chief Ministership was taken up. Mr. Sambanthan wanted Justice C.V. Wigneswaran while all the others vied for Mavai Senathirajah who had already been put forward by the Jaffna Branch of the Federal Party. Mr. Sambanthan was adamant as were the others. Hence the inconclusive discussion.
Justice Wigneswaran who had earlier professed not to be interested in the position had suddenly issued statements that he would consent if all five parties unanimously agreed to his candidature. He was faulted for this saying that Senathirajah came forward to be a candidate only because Justice Wigneswaran had professed disinterest. And now suddenly for Justice Wigneswaran to want the position, it was felt, is unfair.
Some of the objections to Justice Wigneswaran were based on his two children having married Sinhalese. It seemed a little unfair because when children marry outside the community the parents are often against it but cannot stop it. Nevertheless, the point made was that TNA MP Piyasena of mixed parentage from Amparai District crossed over to the government because of divided loyalties, and for the same reasons Justice Wigneswaran cannot be trusted.
Batticaloa District MP, P. Ariyanenthiran, had issued a statement before the meeting raising these objections. His punch line was that Wigneswaran knows only the Nallur Kanthan Temple in the North whereas Senathirajah knows every nook and corner in both the North and the East and it is only he who can unite Tamils everywhere.
This debate settles the matter. Even if Justice Wigneswaran is the candidate because of Mr. Sambanthan’s continued insistence tomorrow, it would not be by unanimous agreement among all 5 parties as he insisted. An experienced judge must learn not to utter words he may have to swallow. Justice Wigneswaran seems not to have been serious when he denied his interest in being Chief Minister and then showed interest. Now again he seems not to be serious about being a candidate only by unanimous agreement.
When the TNA candidate is certain of being overwhelmingly elected, many would want to have a shot at it and it is nothing to be shy about. So Justice Wigneswaran should openly say he is interested instead of all this camouflage. It is unbecoming. Mr. Senathirajah’s is a good example. He has been honest enough to admit his interest.
Update: 12 July 2013
The second day’s discussions also ended in stalemate. The group will meet again on Saturday 13th at 5 O’Clock in an attempt to reach resolution. Mr. Sampanthan is adamant that the candidate should understand the law to deal with the government. All others want a person with a long record of service to Tamil affairs.