The TNA is hopeful of meeting President Mahinda
Rajapaksa again following the initial engagement which was
described as very constructive by MP Mavai Senathiraja one of
the participants. This mellowing of the principal Tamil
political party whose antipathy towards the establishment in the
not too distant past was all too well known is certainly a
positive development. It augurs well for the current moves by
the President to bring together all factions putting behind the
past in the nation building exercise.
Although the discussions are currently centred on the
resettlement of the IDPs it is hoped that things will progress
on to different levels with the passage of time embracing a
larger scope including the political solution that is envisaged.
Already the party which boycotted the APRC marked itís
presence at the last APRC meetings which is an indication of the
gradual shift in stance. It is no secret that the TNA did the
bidding of the LTTE who facilitated itís election to Parliament
and thus could not take independent decisions.
True, the shift in the ground realities following the demise
of the LTTE may have influenced the TNA decision to opt for
engagement with the Government in contrast to itís previous
hostile stand. Whatever the reason this thawing of attitude
should be welcomed.
The coming together of the two sides is a positive
development particularly where the interests of the Tamils are
concerned. For it could act as an effective bridge between the
Government and the Tamil community in the post war integration
process although the party may defer with the Government
For, a good rapport between the two sides could only help the
reconciliation process while the Government also will need a
strong representative body to reach out to the Tamil community.
Time was when Northern polity functioned as an altogether
separate entity displaying open hostility to the establishment.
There was also the poorly disguised campaign promoting
separatism that eventually snowballed into war. It is also true
some of the Tamil political parties who espoused the cause later
became victim of their own creation with even their leaders
ending inside the Tiger belly. The TNA too was virtually in the
jaws of the Tiger having to do itís bidding lest they end up the
But now with the threat no more it is hoped that they will
coalesce with the Government in serving the interests of their
community in the post war scenario. This is the ideal time for
the TNA to break out from its past and enter national politics
like other minority parties without being a single issue party.
For Eelam is now a dead letter with the vanquishing of the
LTTE. It is gratifying to note that the TNA has opted for
inclusivity from the recent statements made by some itís front
Thus it would be ideal if it sheds itís identity as a
regional party and cast its oars far and wide to acquire a
national flavour. Sri Lanka is too small a country for regional
parties and political parties operating in enclaves.
The TNA should seek out the support of Tamils outside the
North and East carrying a new message and ideology. We say this
because today the Tamil community needs a strong political
leadership that transcends ethnic considerations in a scenario
where integration is the buzz word.
Today there is a huge void left in the Tamil polity except
rumps broken away from the separatist movement. There is a need
for a cohesive political body that can stand for the common
interests of the Tamils. The TNA with the largest representation
in Parliament should be able to fill this void with the
cooperation of other Tamil parties in order to bring the fruits
of peace to the Tamil community.
True, the President has dismissed the need for communal
identification of communities. But it would be advantageous to
have a prominent political party around which is able to
articulate the interests of the Tamils in particular areas in
the socio economic and cultural spheres.
Our weekend paper the Sunday Observer also carried as itís
main picture the President meeting with the Tamil business
This too is a positive feature indicating a shift in the
scene showing a departure from existing prejudices and
antagonisms. These businessmen will have a big role to play in
the post war development and the striking of such a rapport is
certainly a happy augury towards reconciliation.