|Wednesday, 18 February 2004|
LTTE green light for rival
by Ranga Jayasuriya
The LTTE yesterday gave the green light to rival political parties to campaign in the Tiger held areas marking a dramatic change in the movement's policies.
After meeting TNA parliamentarians in Kilinochchi, LTTE political chief S. P. Tamilselvam told the press that his movement won't hinder the freedom of political parties campaigning in the LTTE held areas shooting down previous media reports that the Tigers would ban Sinhala political parties from the LTTE held North-East.
"It is democracy. We will not restrain any party from campaigning in our area. They are free to campaign," LTTE spokesman Daya Master quoted the LTTE political chief as saying.
The LTTE spokesman said his movement extended its support to the TNA.
"We (LTTE) decided to appeal to the Tamil people to vote for the policy of the TNA. We urge the Tamil people to unite," he said.
He said the three hour talks between the TNA and the LTTE political chief centred on the policies and strategies of the TNA, the umbrella organisation of four Tamil parties - TULF, TELO, EPRLF (Suresh Wing) and ACTC.
Meanwhile the LTTE's official web site (www.lttepeacesecretariat.com) said the LTTE wanted the election to be an endorsement of the aspirations of the Tamil people.
"The LTTE are not directly participating in this election. But policy wise they wish to have this election as one confirming and endorsing the aspirations of the Tamils." the web site said.
".... On this basis and solely for this purpose the Tamil National Alliance have joined hands and united with the LTTE whose support and co-operation is ensured in respect of establishing the aspirations of the Tamils," it added.
Meanwhile, the Tamilnet quoted Tamil Selvam as saying the LTTE will decide on the deployment of police in the LTTE held area for election duties following consultation with the movement's supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.
The TNA faced with a dispute over its election symbol-Rising Sun- is expected to meet today for further discussions on the issue.
The TULF, the largest party in the TNA has split between moderate party president V. Anandasangaree and his colleagues led by party General Secretary R. Sambanthan considered to be pro-LTTE.
Produced by Lake House