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Let us reconcile without rancour

2013 Oct 10

If the landslide victory of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the recent Provincial Council elections in the North was historic, Monday's events, which saw C.V. Wigneswaran taking oaths as the new Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council from President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, was no less significant. The progressive action, reportedly initiated by TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, must and needs to be commended by all peace loving citizens of this country.



Sampanthan's bold decision, despite diverse opinions from his camp, which was reflected in several of the TNA members boycotting Monday's ceremony, giving rise to speculations that a split in the Alliance is imminent, showed maturity, and at least momentarily brings to an end, the confrontational attitude that was seen in the last several decades. To a country that has bled for over a quarter of a century, incurring immense losses in terms of lives as well as money, this move needs to be interpreted as the dawn of a better era that would see peace and prosperity for the country and its people.



Despite the many negative statements made by heavyweights in the government, belittling the TNA for its decision to choose retired Supreme Court Judge Wigneswaran as the chief ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council, the fact that he has been able to muster 132,255 votes, and the TNA winning 353,595 votes, which is 78.48% of the valid votes, is an indication that the TNA's choice has been validated by the Northern people. That aside, the TNA winning 30 out of the 38 seats in the Council, despite the various machinations brought into play against it, is no mean feat either.



Though Sampanthan's decision has to be lauded by everyone who has the welfare of the country at heart, there were rumblings heard from detractors that Wigneswaran should not be sworn-in before the President of the country. One of the reasons attributed was that the votes cast for the TNA were anti-government, anti-Rajapaksa votes. Such parochial thinking would not be in the best interest of the country and would amount to toppling the apple-cart even before the country has a chance of getting the best out of the present situation.



Such negative statements were seen and heard from the time the Northern election was announced, with disgruntled elements, some of who are constituent partners of the ruling coalition, strongly opposed to power being devolved to the Northern Provincial Council, despite all other Provincial Councils enjoying these powers for the last 25 years. They put forward various arguments to derail the election process through devious means. Fortunately, all the attempts of these disruptive elements to create chaos and disenchantment among the people were thwarted and the polls held, which gave the Northerners a chance to elect a set of people of their choice.



In fact, the country was able to see recalcitrant behaviour inspired by such thinking in many instances before, which sabotaged the many attempts such as the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and the Dudley-Chelvanayakam Pact, which sought to mitigate the ill-effects of short-sighted policies. The road blocks ultimately led to terrorism raising its head in the North and East.



With this bold step taken by TNA and the Chief Minister for the NPC, the country has a very good chance of repairing the damage caused by capricious policies in the past, and work towards peace, reconciliation and co-existence. This is an opportunity to create a united Sri Lanka where everyone feels he is an equal citizen, for therein lies Sri Lanka's success as a country. This is also opportunity to deliver the peace dividend promised when the 30-year scourge of terrorism was ended. So let us, with an open mind, explore the possibilities presented to us with this initial move by the TNA.

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