The premier Political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils –Tamil National Alliance – has decided to field former Supreme court judge CV Wigneswaran as its Chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming elections to the Northern Provincial Council.
The decision was arrived at on Monday July 15th 2013 when the “Orunginaippuk Kuzhu”(coordinating committee )comprising 21 representatives from the five constituent partners of the met at the Colombo party office of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)in Bambalapitiya.
The five constituents of the TNA are the ITAK, Tamil United Liberation front(TULF),Tamil eelam Liberation Organization(TELO),Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liiberation Front(EPRLF)and Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil eelam(PLOTE).
Justice Wigneswaran will be contesting as a candidate of the ITAK under the aegis of the TNA.The final decision was unanimous.
The TNA has been conducting protracted discussions from Thursday July 11th to decide upon its chief ministerial candidate.
The issue had become complicated due to a tussle that ensued over who was to be the TNA final choice.
While TNA Parliamentary Group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan wanted Former Supreme court Judge Wigneswaran to be nominated other constituent parties wanted ITAK secretary –general and Jaffna district MP Somasuntharam Senathirajah alias “Mavai”Senathirajah to be the chief ministerial candidate.
This led to five rounds of discussions in five days among the coordinating committee members until a final decision was reached.
It is learnt that TNA leder Sampanthan supported by fellow MP’s Selvarajah and Sumanthiran succeeded in convincing the rest of the coordinating committee that Wigneswaran was the best possible choice under prevailing political circumstances.
After a majority of the committee was persuaded to revise their original position and endorse Wigneswaran ,Mavai Senathirajah voluntarily stood down from contesting and proposed that Wigneswaran should be nominated as the chief ministerial candidate.Thereafter the candidacy was approved unanimously.
It is understood that Senathirajah himself led a delegation of TNA leaders and met Wigneswaran at the latter’s residence. Senathirajah personally assured Wigneswaran of his unstinted support and cooperation in the election campaign.
The TNA chief ministerial candidate Justice Wigneswaran is of Jaffna origin but had grown up in Colombo studying at Royal College.He had a distinguished record at the bar before mounting the bench. He had an equally impressive record as a judge notably in dealing with cases connected to the draconinan Prevention of Terrorism Act.
He had made a name for himself after retirement by making erudite,courageous speeches on different occasions. Be it matters affecting the Tamil community in particular or issues relating to the country at large such as independence of the Judiciary, Vigneswaran had spoken out loud and clear.He had not hesitated to speak truth to power. Essentially a cosmopolitan, Wigneswaran also retained strong Hindu links.
TNA leader Sampanthan felt that Wigneswaran was the ideal choice for Chief minister for a number of reasons.Given his qualifications and experience and his track record while on the bench and afterwards,Wigneswaran was sure to attract votes immensely in the North. If Douglas Devananda was to be the chief Govt candidate then pitting a person of Vigneswaran’s calibre could virtually transform the hustings into a one horse race.
It was also necessary to have a man of eminence like Wigneswaran as Northern chief minister at this historic juncture. The new chief minister would have to meet with the Colombo Govt on a number of matters.He needs to negotiate with the Govt for more powers,resources and functions for the council. He must possess the ability to interact on equal terms with the Governor and military hierarchy in the North. He must also be able to deal with International leaders,diplomats and media personnel.These required extraordinary attributes and ideally, Wigneswaran seemed to fit the bill.Besides Wigneswaran possessed legal acumen and expertise that could be of crucial importance.
Meanwhile the media office of the TNA issued a press release on the matter.
The full text of the communiqué is as follows –
Elections to the Northern Provincial Council
The Tamil National Alliance(TNA), comprising of five constituent parties, met at the TNA office on 15th July 2013 to consider the nomination of the candidate for the post of Chief Minister of the Northern Province.
It was unanimously resolved that the candidate for the position of Chief Minister at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections for the Northen Province would be Mr C V Wigneswaran, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Other nominations will be finalized in due course by the TNA.
Mr C V Wigneswaran is a much respected public personality and we appeal to the voters in the Northern Province to wholeheartedly support Mr C V Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister candidate of the TNA and all other candidates who will be nominated for election.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org