Ten Tamil parties and groups in Sri Lanka have come together to form a coalition — Democratic Tamil National Front.
Among the parties are the Tamil United Liberation Front of V. Anandasangaree; Eelam People’s Democratic Party of Douglas Devananda and Democratic People’s Congress of Praba Ganesan. Only a few days ago, Mr. Devananda and Mr. Ganesan had met President and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party chief Maithripala Sirisena and declared their allegiance to him.
Explaining the purpose behind the coalition’s formation, Mr. Devananda told The Hindu that the parties which claimed to have brought in the existing government had not been able to take care of the interests of Tamils.
Critical of TNA
“Having been part of the previous government [led by Mahinda Rajapaksa], my party has the experience of getting things done from those in power. At that time, we were alone. Now, we will work together with other like-minded Tamil parties.”
Mr. Anandasangaree, a known critic of the Tamil National Alliance and its chief R. Sampanthan, told The Hindu that one of the objectives was to target the TNA and weaken it. Would he invite constituents of the TNA to join his front? “My offer is open to all.” He added that the front would also like to have parties representing Muslims, most of whom speak Tamil. Mr. Anandasangaree said the coming elections to local bodies were one of the factors behind the coalition’s formation. However, Mr. Devananda ruled out this factor.
The new coalition would campaign for the adoption of the “Indian model of federalism”, which could be accomplished by enlarging the scope of the 13th Constitutional Amendment, which created provincial councils.
Mr. Anandasangaree said attempts to draft a new Constitution would be futile when a large number of lawmakers belonging to Mr. Sirisena’s party attended a May Day rally addressed by Mr. Rajapaksa. “My position is this: identify problems in the existing Constitution and address them,” he said.(The Hindu)