Govt. says TNA faction sided with anti-Mahinda camp to avenge LTTE defeat

The Government yesterday (Jan 7) said that a section the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R. Sampanthan threw its weight behind Opposition Presidential candidate General (Retd) Sarath Fonseka to avenge the annihilation of the LTTE last May.

Government spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Sampanthan sided with the former Army Chief as he knew it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who made Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE possible.

Addressing the media at the Information Department, Yapa said the incumbent President had earned the wrath of Sampanthan’s group due to his leading role in the war against terror.

Yapa said that the TNA never had any interest in the welfare of the Tamil speaking people. Giving them political rights was the last thing on the minds of the TNA leadership, he said adding that the party represented the LTTE.

In the run up to the last parliamentary elections in April 2004, the TNA declared the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people. To facilitate the TNA campaign, the LTTE prohibited other Tamil political groups and Tamil candidates from the mainstream political alliances from contesting the polls.

Yapa said that LTTE allies were now trying to achieve what the LTTE had failed with its military capability before being decimated on the Vanni battlefields. Responding to queries, the Media Minister emphasised that Sampanthan did not have the full support of the TNA parliamentary group. He said that the Sampanthan’s camp represented the interests of the LTTE and Tamil Diaspora, and was still trying to revive the separatist movement though it did not retain a military capability.

He said that the Tamil community could not be unaware of what the TNA did during the war. He asserted that the TNA’s latest political move was an extension of the LTTE/TNA hostility towards the Rajapaksa administration.

He said that the President could not be denied the credit for liberating the Tamil community and subsequent measures taken to restore normalcy in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. He said that many State-sponsored projects were underway in the region which would bring immense benefits to the civilian population in the near future.

Dismissing recent concerns expressed by the TNA, Minister Yapa said that the government was in the process of gradually scaling down High Security Zones (HSZs) in the Jaffna Peninsula. He said that more land would be made available for development.

He said that the government was seeking $ 65 million (Rs.7.4 billion) from the World Bank to carry out an accelerated programme in the Northern Region to help the war displaced. According to him, the project would be launched early this year as part of their overall programme to support the Northern community.

Emphasising that the development of the Northern and Eastern Provinces would be one of the priorities, he said that the development of the harbour at Kankesanthurai would be a bigger project than the Hambantota harbour.

He warned that the Opposition alliance was aiming to cause chaos thereby hindering the revival of war devastated districts.

He said that the TNA had declared its support to the Opposition candidate after having talks with the government. He emphasised that the TNA’s objectives were vindictive though it held negotiations with the government in the wake of the LTTE collapse.

He urged the media not to forget the way LTTE sympathisers in and out of Parliament had behaved during the war. "Just think of their attitude and their statements," he said adding that the country overcame tremendous obstacles to eradicate terrorism.

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