On receipt of an invitation from the Commissioner of Elections to attend their 60th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Department of Elections, I travelled a long distance to attend the same. I also wanted to listen to the speech of the Leader of the opposition Hon. R. Sampanthan my former colleague in the TULF and in Parliament.
I may be pardoned for my comments on the speech delivered by Hon.R. Sampanthan. It is not irrelevant too, because facts cannot be distorted. If we do so it will boomerang on us. I was highly amused when I heard him saying, “If Democracy does not survive in Sri Lanka, the country will perish. We are not prepared to give room for it. Therefore we must protect Democracy”. He added that it is good for the Election Department to know that he will act with a sense of responsibility on all matters. I dare say that if he had acted with a sense of responsibility at the 2004 General Elections, thousands of lives and several billions worth of valuable property both public and private could have been saved. More than 50 thousand widows will be living happily today with their husbands and many more children. Several thousand disabilities among the people could have been avoided. Not a single person would have died of starvation, in any part of the country. During the period I lived in Killinochchi I met only one person who came only on Fridays to collect his rupee. May be, Thamby Prabaharan could have even become our Chief Minister.
The General Election of April 2004 was the worst political disaster the country as a whole, ever faced, completely derailing the democratic process in the North and the East for which Hon.R.Sampanthan and Hon.Mavai Senathiraja should be held responsible. Duties of the Government officials were taken over by the LTTE. At the end of the day all the 22 candidates of the TNA were declared elected, creating a record polling of over 95% of the votes. All rival candidates were not allowed to campaign or even to vote. Hon.R.Sampanthan and Hon. Mavai Senathiraja of the TNA were two of the 22 who won the election. Since this victory was forced on them with their connivance, they should have resigned enbloc, the very next day. But they comfortably occupied all the 22 seats for a full term of six years, enjoying all benefits. The request made by the International Monitoring Teams to annul the elections and to hold fresh elections was turned down by the Commissioner of Elections, on the grounds that there was no provision for such arrangements in the Elections Ordinance.
The Government that should have taken remedial measures did not take any action. The Members so elected, should have been either removed or expelled from Parliament. They did not resign their seats on their own or any legal action taken again them. Instead all these 22 Members, who were 10% of the total Membership of Parliament, which was 225, continued to serve their full term of six years uninterruptedly. They also contested the next election with their legal disability and won 14 seats by obtaining only 10% of the total votes. The TULF was not merely defeated at the poll. The TULF a moderate political party committed to non-violence that had 18 members in Parliament once, was virtually got rid of for ever, by illegal means and without any action taken by the Government to have it reinstated.
The TNA was a joint venture of four parties the TULF, ACTC, TELO and EPRLF formed as an alliance on 22.10.2001, with me as its first chairman. The MoU was signed on behalf of the TULF by its Secretary General at that time, Hon. R.Sampanthan and by the other three Secretaries of the respective parties. The TNA contested the General Election in 2001 as candidates of the TULF with its symbol “rising sun” and won 14 seats. At this election I polled over 36,000 preference votes and came first out of nine who won from various parties.
There was a split in the party led by Hon.R.Sampanthan in early 2004. Instigated by an interested party, the TNA agreed to recognize the LTTE as the sole representatives and as National Leaders of the Tamil People and provided so in their 2004 Election manifesto also. Under compulsion they also got the ITAK revived 26 years after the founder Hon.S.J.V.Chelvanayagam died. Without referring to the TULF the ITAK took its place in the TNA.
At the 2004 Elections in the Electoral District of Jaffna, the TNA received only six out of the twelve slots from Mr. Thamilchelvan who retained the other six and offered them to candidates of his choice. The TNA that had made use of the LTTE to enter Parliament had also wanted action taken against both the Government and the LTTE. But the TULF had always maintained the position that no action should be taken against the LTTE because most of them were conscripted when they were too young with no chance to quit the movement.
At the 2004 General Elections, because of the conduct of the ITAK, the TNA had become an illegal Organization. As such the TNA should be held responsible for all the crimes committed during this period, including the assassinations of M/s N.Raviraj, T.Maheswaren, Laxman Kathirgamar, Kingsley Rajanayagam and many such others. Before the Geneva resolution was released the TULF by its words and deeds remained silent without causing any embarrassment to the present Government. The EU has now pointed out that the Geneva report has revealed that atrocities had been committed by both sides over a long period. Since the present Government had been ignoring various mistakes committed by the TNA, we of the TULF wish to bring to the notice of the Hon. Prime Minister that this will bring discredit to the National Government and Good Governance. Although the TULF had been giving unstinted support to the Government from the very beginning, we are grieved that the Government is giving preferential treatment to the TNA in all matters. The TULF was defeated at the elections not by democratic means. The truth is that we were defeated due to a plot of a particular group supportive of the TNA. The TULF appeals to the Government that it should take this matter into serious consideration for positive action. The Government can rest assured that the support and co-operation of the TULF is always available for Good Governance.