The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has triumphed magnificiently at the historic first election to the Northern Province of Sri Lanka with its chief ministerial candidate retired Supreme court Judge CV Wigneswaran topping the number of preference votes with a whopping tally of over 130,000.
Wigneswaran polled 132,255 votes in the Jaffna District, with the wife of Ezhilan former LTTE Political Wing Leader for Trincomalee Ananthi Sasitharan coming in second with 87,870 votes. PLOTE Leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan contesting on the TNA list polled the third highest votes in the Jaffna District.
Listen and Lead~Tamil National Alliance’s Chief Minister candidate C.V.Wigneswaran, Leader of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and Secretary of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Mavai Senathirajah, candidate E. Arnold and others are being traditionally welcomed for the final election campaign rally in Kuru Nagar in Jaffna.-pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai-via flickr/passionParade
The TNA led the polls by a landslide in the Northern Province, winning 78.48% of the total votes cast, according to the Department of Elections.
Thus the TNA has demonstrated once again that it is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils by winning a four-fifths majority .
The TNA contesting under the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)has got thirty of the thirty-eight seats allocated to the Northern Provincial council. Twenty-eight of these are elected while two are bonus seats. The ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) contesting on the betel symbol got seven seats. The remaining one seat went to the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC)contesting under its tree symbol.
Voters in rural Jaffna go to polling booth early morning to cast their votes-picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai~via twitter.com/DushiYanthini
The TNA contesting under the ITAK symbol of house gained213,907 (84.37%)of the votes polled in Jaffna district and won 14 of the 16 seats allocated to Jaffna administrative district.It won 37,079(81.57%)in Kilinochchi administrative district and got 3 of the 4 seats there. Thus the TNA contesting as ITAK got 16 of the elected 20 seats entitled to the Jaffna Electoral district comprising Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts.
The TNA polled 28,266(78.56%) of votes in Mullaitheevu district which entitled it to 4 of 5 seats allocated to that district. In Vavuniya the TNA polled 41,225 votes(66.1%) thus getting 4 of the 6 seats entitled by the district. Mannar saw the TNA fielding candidates under the house symbol getting 33,118 votes(62.22%). This enabled it to get 3 of the 5 seats allocated to the Mannar district.
Together the Mannar, Mullaitheevu and Vavuniya districts comprise the Wanni electoral district.The TNA has got 11 of the 16 seats allocated to the Wanni electoral district.
Thus the Tamil National Alliance contesting under the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi has polled 353,595 valid votes altogether in the Northern Provincial poll and obtained 28 seats. Having come first in the Province the TNA is entitled to 2 bonus seats of the 38 seats in the Council. These seats will be given to defeated candidates.In terms of a pre-poll agreement one seat will be allotted to the TNA Muslim candidate who lost in Mannar.. The other bonus seat will be decided upon in due course.District wise the TNA break down is Jaffna-14;Kilinochchi-03;Mullaitheevu -03;Vavuniya-04.
The ruling UPFA has polled 82,838 valid votes in the Northern Provincial poll and got 7 seats. In Jaffna it polled 35,995 (14.2%)and got 2 seats. In Kilinochchi the UPFA polled 7,897(17.37%) and got one seat. The UPFA polled 16,233(26.67%)and got 2 seats. Mullaitheevu saw the UPFA getting one seat with 7.209 (20.04%)votes. In Mannar district the UPFA polled 15,104 (28.38%)and got one seat.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC) though a constituent of the UPFA government contested separately in the Wanni electoral district of the Northern province.The SLMC got 199 votes in Mullaitheevu and 1991 votes in Vavuniya.However in Mannar the Muslim Congress polled 4,571 votes(8.59%)and gained its solitary seat in the Northern provincial council.
The chief opposition United National Party suffered a humiliating defeat in the Northern poll. Although it contested all five districts in the North it failed miserably. The UNP votes district –wise break-down was 197-Mullaitheevu;54-Kilinochchi;1769-Vavuniya;187-Mannar and 855-Jaffna.
The impressive feature of the Tamil National Alliance victory is that it romped home the winner in all 14 electoral divisions of the Northern Province. The most remarkable achievement of the TNA in Jaffna was that it obtained the majority of votes in the Kayts electoral division long regarded as the stronghold of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party(EPDP)the chief constituent of the UPFA in Jaffna district. In Kayts the TNA got 8917 which was more than double the UPFA(EPDP)tally of 4164 votes.
The victory recorded by the Tamil National alliance was not unexpected.It was apparent even before the polls were announced that the TNA would win hands down. The only unknown factors were the amount of votes to be polled and the preference votes garnered by candidates.
On the way to cast his vote in Jaffna~ pic: by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai-via: twitter/DushiYanthini
The TNA during its election campaign sought a two-thirds majority from the electorate. The people of the North have demonstrated their resilience and tenacity by providing an avalanche of votes that has entitled the TNA to a five-sixth majority in the historic first ever Northern Provincial council.
According to a report in the “DailyFT” the Northern Province Chief Minister Elect C.V. Wigneswaran has called on the Government to grant the newly-elected council all its legitimate powers and ruled out international intervention to win devolution for the Tamils except as a last resort.
“It is important for the Provincial Council to dialogue and work with the Sri Lankan Government,” Justice Wigneswaran told reporters in the northern capital of Jaffna fresh from his party’s massive win at the election.
He called on the Government to respect the northern people’s verdict by granting the powers legitimately accrued to the new council. “It is up to the Government to decide if it will respect the people’s decision,” Wigneswaran said.International intervention, he said, would be sought only when talks with the Government fail repeatedly.
According to a report filed by Dharisha Bastians for “DailyFT” the TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan has called the results of Saturday’s northern election “unprecedented” in the country’s history.
“The people of the north have made known their views clearly and courageously, respect their democratic verdict,” Sampanthan said issuing a strong message to the Government in Colombo from the northern capital of Jaffna.
He told reporters that the Tamils had expressed a desire to live securely with dignity and adequate self-rule within the framework of a united country. “The TNA expects the Government to extend the fullest cooperation for the achievement of those legitimate aspirations.
The Northern people have spoken resoundingly. The onus now is on the TNA to shed its provocative campaign rhetoric and get down to work seriously.The long suffering Tamil people have faced tremendous odds and courageously voted for the TNA. The TNA should be mindful of its responsibility and work for the betterment and welfare of the people.For this the TNA must discard the politics of confrontation and adopt the cooperative approach.The newly elected Northern Provincial councilmust work in partnership with whichever Government in power for the benefit of the province and its people
Likewise President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet must take cognizance of the fact that the Northerner does not vote for development alone but also for a variety of other reasons. Chief among them is the hitherto unresolved Tamil National question. The UPFA govt instead of placing obstacles must establish rapport with the TNA dominated Northern provincial council and work together for a progressive future for the North in particular and Sri Lanka in general.
Meanwhile Economic Development Minister and presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa has said that the TNA must realise that great responsibility now comes with the power it has been bestowed with to uplift the people of the area and to support the development of the communities.
“The power they receive must be directed towards the good of the people and development. They must also ensure that their work resonates the principle of ‘one country, one body’ that the Government is keen to promote. The minority in the north are the Sinhalese and the Muslims and they must also be protected at all times,” Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told journalists at a briefing in Colombo state media reports.
“The UPFA’s loss in the north should in no way be connected to the efforts of the ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ program which focused on various areas of development in the north,” he said, assuring that the Government’s plans to develop the area would in no way be hindered due to the results of Saturday’s election. “We will continue our plan and look forward to working with the TNA to ensure that development and progress expected is as it should be,” Minister Rajapaksa said.“‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ was what the people needed. That was a separate effort from the election work,” Rajapaksa added.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at ~ firstname.lastname@example.org