ITAK opts out of Ministerial Posts

The Ilankan Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the largest party in Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC), has decided not to take any ministerial position in the provincial administration in view of serious differences with Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran.

As a follow up, the sole legitimate representative of the ITAK in the Board of ministers, Health Minister P.Sathiyalingam, resigned from his ministerial post on Monday.

Chief Minister Wigneswaran has fought the last election as an ITAK candidate, but he does not consider himself a party man. Another ITAK minister, Ananthy Sasitharan, is facing disciplinary action in the party for alleged anti-party activities.

The ITAK has 16 members in the 38-member NPC. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), of which it is part, has a total of 30 members. The opposition has eight members.

The ITAK and the Chief Minister have been at loggers for a long time. It was only recently that ITAK members of the council had submitted to the Governor a No Confidence Motion against the Chief Minister. It was later withdrawn after talks between the Chief Minister and the ITAK Supremo, R.Sampanthan.

Though Chief Minister Wigneswaran and party chief Sampanthan pledged to work together, they never did. The Chief Minister continues to take a line in contradiction with the ITAK’s line on every issue. He continues to prop up an independent organization he founded called Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC) which has been taking a harder stand on the ethnic question and constitutional reform as compared to the ITAK, which has been wanting to work with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government at Colombo.

The NPC was elected in September 2013 and its term is ending in September 2018. But so far, the council, under the stewardship of Chief Minister Wigneswaran, has done very little for the people of the province.

While complaining of lack of resource allocation from the Central government in Colombo, the provincial administration has been returning money unspent.

Instead of carrying out development work, the council has been passing political resolutions including one on “continuous genocide” of the Tamils in Sri Lanka!

Suggestions from national and international leaders to concentrate on development while seeking a political solution to the Tamil question, have fallen on deaf ears.

In the context of the ITAK opting out of the Board of Ministers and the Chief Minister being at loggerheads with the single largest party, ITAK, there is little or no hope of the NPC or the Board of Ministers being effective ever.

“This is why I have suggested that the council be dissolved and fresh elections held,” said S.Thavaraja, the Leader of the Opposition. (

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