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The house that Rajapaksa can build in Jaffna

The results of Sri Lanka’s local body elections rolling in over the weekend give Jaffna peninsula an uncanny resemblance to India’s Kashmir valley. A profoundly alienated people are testing the frontiers of political pluralism in a genuinely democratic enviornment. There is a limit beyond which the national leadership in Colombo (and Delhi) cannot countenance provincial autonomy lest there is backlash from nationalist-chauvinist elements in the political hinterland. There in Colombo and here in Delhi, the task is clear-cut and is crystal-clear as far as the world community is concerned, but going about the task is easier said than done. Neither Delhi nor Colombo will ever allow foreigners to be prescriptive, either.

The good part is that somewhat like Omar Abdullah’s National Front which consorts with Congress Party at the centre, the Tamil National Alliance of Jaffna which won a massive victory in the weekend election (20 out 25 local councils) is also a constitutent of the ruling alliance headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo. It goes to Rajapaksa’s credit that he paid personal attention to creating a highly competitive enviornment for the election campaign. A robust 60 percent voter turnout signifies that people were convinced enough to move on and that party politics is gaining traction.

Both Jaffna and J&K are pulling out of the trough of bloody insurgencies that were indigenous but often got sustenance from abroad. In both situations, life shows signs of regeneration. Tourism has returned to J&K, while BBC reports on a ‘property boom’ in Jaffna. The Jaffna Tamil is famously hard-working and thrifty by nature and if good conditions are available, he could harvest gold. Rajapaksa’s best reply to Jayalalithaa’s rhetoric will be to give the Tamil National Alliance government a helping hand to set free the native genius of the Jaffna Tamil. When the lights begin to shine across the Palk Straits in the night, the people of Tamil Nadu will hopefully ask Jayalalithaa –  and Karunanidhi — some unpleasant questions as to why life should be so hard in Nagapattinam or Mayiladuthurai.

Rajapaksa’s hundred percent win in the 39 Sinhala-dominated provincial councils immensely strengthens his political stature. He is well-placed to pick up the threads of Sri Lanka’s exciting economic programme of the early 1970s which were languishing through the 3 decades of civil war. The Sri Lankan collective consciousness could be still remembering the times when their nation was the role model for social formation and development for the whole of South Asia — especially for South Indians. The Jaffna elections, held after over 2 decades, could prove to be a defining moment for Sri Lanka. 

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7 Responses

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  1. dr.sammy02@rediffmail.com says

    Kashmir has a certain measure of autonomy in india like most states. India is a federal country. Sri Lanka is not federal and Tamils are treated like fourth or fifth class citizens of Sri Lanka. The author knows all this and he has regressed into this kind of writing for unknown reasons! India is not accused of crimes against humanity in Kashmir. We did not bomb Kshmir with our Mig bombers. Sri Lanka did all this and more! Comparing these two countries is unwarranted and ridiculous!

  2. iqbaltariq66@rediffmail.com says

    Mr Bharathakumar seems to compare the contrasting political realities of J

  3. snailsail says

    There is a limit beyond which the national leadership in Colombo (and Delhi) cannot countenance provincial autonomy lest there is backlash from nationalist-chauvinist elements in the political hinterland.

    Surely a statesman will be serving national interest rather narrow minded chauvinist elements. From Delhi Rajapakshe declared 13 plus, now he is not even ready for 13 minus. Rajapakshe declared after war “no minorities in this island only majority” that means no minority can claim their rights. TNA is not a constituent of ruling alliance and TNA won the election despite intimidation, forceful snatching of voting cards from voters by armed men in uniform, death threats to candidates by ruling Rajapakshe allianz (Please refer AFP reports or Hindu Article today). Majority of the tamils wants to live peace fully and to decide their affairs in terms of social, economic and politics.

    Apart from Sinhala hegemonic politics, toothless indian policies equally responsible for tamils misery in Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu always worried about the plight of tamils in Sri Lanka

  4. Anonymous says

    sakthi wrote:

    “Atleast brothers n sister living in Jaffna and other war affected should be getting peace and good life style atleas from now.”

    How did you come to that conclusion? Rajapaksa’s EPDP paramilitary group runs Jaffna with the army under an iron fist. That is why the people voted for the TNA, the former voice of the LTTE. The people voted against Rajapaksa because their lives are miserable under military and thuggish rule.

  5. thomsy says

    “the Tamil National Alliance of Jaffna which won a massive victory in the weekend election (20 out 25 local councils) is also a constitutent of the ruling alliance headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo.”

    Tamil National Alliance is not a constituent of Rajapakse alliance.
    Rajapakse’s party suffered humiliating defeats in Tamil Areas

  6. sakthi says

    Karunanidhi,Vaiko,seman,Jayalalithaa all are using Srilankan tamil issue only for their political gain. Atleast brothers n sister living in Jaffna and other war affected should be getting peace and good life style atleas from now. No Tamils in India will going help them.Because they were fooled by the politicians.

  7. Sridhar Seetharaman says

    Respect for People’s mandate

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