Attempt by “Gang of Four” to Remove Thurairajasingham From Gen-Secy Post Through No Confidence Motion Foiled At ITAK Committee Meeting in Vavuniya
A concerted move by five (four+One) stalwarts of the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) – the chief constituent of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) – to remove the party General- Secretary K. Thurairajasingham from his post through a no-confidence motion ended in a dismal failure at a conclave held in Vavuniya on Saturday, August 29th 2020. In spite of a lot of sound and fury being emitted by unruly members at the gathering, the meeting ended on a conciliatory note with a motion of censure being passed against the Gen-Secy expressing disapproval for adopting incorrect procedure in nominating a national list MP to Parliament on behalf of the TNA.
The Central Working Committee (Mathiya Seyal Kuzhu) Meeting of the ITAK known in English as the Federal Party(FP) was held from 10. 30 am to 5.30 pm on Saturday at the Princess Rose Hotel in Kurumankaadu, Vavuniya.
The meeting presided over by ITAK president Somasundaram Senathirajah known as “Maavai” Senathirajah had an attendance of over 50 persons. These included TNA Parliamentary Group leader and veteran Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and other ITAK MP”s, Ex-provincial councillors and local authority representatives.
The meeting had aroused much interest and concern as moves were initiated by elements close to ITAK leader “Maavai” Senathirajah to remove the ITAK General-Secretary Krishnapillai Thurairajasingham by passing a no-confidence motion against him. Senathirajah had accused Thurairajasingham of acting unilaterally by nominating Thavarasah Kalaiarasan hailing from the Amparai district as TNA national list MP without his knowledge. Although Senathirajah took umbrage at himself being allegedly kept in the dark by Thurairajasingham, it was well known that the actual reason for the ITAK president being miffed was at his not being appointed national list MP. Senathirajah who had been elected to Parliament from Jaffna district since 2000 was defeated at the last elections coming sixth among TNA candidates receiving preference votes.
“Gang of Four” Plus Another
Four important ITAK officials – all of them aligned to Senathirajah – gave notice of a no-confidence motion against ITAK general secretary Krishnapillai Thurairajasingham. The wording of the motion called for immediate removal of Thurairajasingham from the office of General through a vote. The four signatories – dubbed as the “gang of four” by wags -were former Northern Provincial Council Chairman CVK Sivagnam, ITAK party treasurer K. Kanagasabapathy, ITAK Mayor of Jaffna Emmanuel Arnold and Ex-Northern provincial councillor Paranjothy. Subsequently, a fifth person, ITAK Committee member Prof. Kuhapalan also added his signature. Sivagnanam and Kanagasabapathy are regarded as the right and left hands of “Maavai” Senathirajah.
Interestingly enough it was Sivagnanam and Kanagasabapathy who had gone to Trincomalee to meet Sampanthan and urge that Senathirajah be appointed as National list MP because the ITAK Jaffna branch had passed a resolution to that effect. Furthermore, it was two other signatories Paranjithy and Kuhapalan who had proposed and seconded the resolution calling for Senathirajah’s nomination. Now four persons who were deeply involved in the move to get Senathirajah appointed as MP was trying to move a vote of no-confidence motion alleging improper conduct on the part of the General secretary. Having failed in their attempt to secure the MP post for Senathirajah, they were downplaying their role in that sordid exercise and were now diverting the issue by ganging up against Thurairajasingham and extracting revenge for thwarting their plans.
Chief Strategist C.V.K. Sivagnanam
Senathirajah’s chief strategist C.V.K. Sivagnanam had been communicating with members of the central committee in a bid to canvass support for the no-confidence motion. He had also told sections of the Tamil media that the no-confidence motion was being brought against the Gen – Secy for acting unilaterally without discussing the matter with the ITAK leader Senathirajah. It is learnt however that Sivagnanam had realised the motion against Thurairajasingham succeeding at a vote was doubtful because the “silent majority” of Central Working Committee members was not supportive.
When the meeting commenced ITAK treasurer and co-signatory, Kanagasabapathy began reading the text of the motion. ITAK/TNA spokesperson and Jaffna district MP Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran raised an objection to the motion being presented for a vote at the Central Working committee meeting. Sumanthiran pointed out that the Gen – Secy had been elected by the “Podhu Sabhai” (General Council) and ratified at the party convention. The Central Working Committee had no authority to remove the Gen-Secy. It was the General Council that could remove him. As such the No Confidence Motion could not be taken up at this meeting.
MA Sumanthiran also pointed out that the ITAK party Constitution had stipulated that the Central Working Committee could have 41 members only. These consisted of representatives elected by each district and ex-officio members. However, in recent times the ITAK leader had acted arbitrarily and appointed more persons to the committee. This exceeded fifty in number. Sumanthiran who is a president’s counsel said that if the no-confidence motion issue went to court – as it would very likely – then the courts would have to ascertain whether the Central Working Committee was constituted properly according to the Constitution. Since the members present exceeded the stipulated the prescribed number of 41, the courts may not recognize the legality of any decision in this regard said Sumanthiran.
The objection raised by Sumanthiran and the points mentioned by him had a dampening effect on the proponents of the no-confidence motion. Although the “rowdy” sections kept protesting, the mastermind behind the motion, CVK Sivagnanam realised the gravity of the situation. CVK Sivagnanam is one of the two senior vice presidents of the ITAK although the party constitution has provision for only one.
The politically astute Sivagnanam then thought on his feet and switched gears. Sivagnanam abandoned the idea of the no-confidence motion and suggested that a vote of censure expressing disapproval of the Gen – Secy’s conduct be passed instead. This was exuberantly welcomed by Senathirajah’s “Hurra boys” whose appreciation of the difference between a no-confidence motion and censure motion was minimal.
Beleaguered General – Secretary
There was however much debate and discussion over the issue. The gathering gradually split into three broad factions. One was supportive of Thurairajasingham while another was hostile. The third and comparatively large faction kept silent but it appeared that their sympathies lay with the beleaguered General Secretary
Among those who were supportive of Thurairajasingham were TNA leader R.Sampanthan, S. Shritharan, MA Sumanthiran and “fresher” MP Rasamanickam Rajaputhiran Shanakkiyan. Among others who spoke in a similar vein was former Northern provincial minister Dr P. Sathiyalingam. Those speaking against Thurairajasingham were Senathirajah along with the “gang of four “, ex-MP and media “Mudalaali” Saravanapavan and Colombo based lawyer KV Thavarasa.
Two important facts came to light during the verbal onslaughts. The newly appointed National list MP Kalaiarasan shocked the gathering when he said that he was resigning as it was being alleged that he had been made an MP through improper procedures. Kalaiarasan said that neither he nor the Tamils of Amparai district were prepared to be insulted in this manner. This led to Senathirajah and his acolytes assuring and re-assuring Kalaiarasan that there was no improper procedure in his being appointed MP. They said Kalaisrasan fully deserved it and that none were objecting to the manner in which he was appointed by the Gen – Secy. Their objection was only against Thurairajasingham because he had not discussed the matter with ITAK Leader Senathirajah.
Thus Kalaiarasan’s righteous indignation at being insulted and the response it elicited proved the point that there was no improper procedure adopted by the General Secretary as alleged in the draft no-confidence motion. This left only the charge about Thurairajasingham not discussing the matter with Senathirajah. This allegation too was disproved when Thurairajasingham spoke out.
“Koochalidum Kumbal”(Howling Mob)
The former Batticaloa district Parliamentarian and ex-provincial minister spoke amidst hooting and heckling by the “Koochalidum Kumbal” (Howling mob) that was hostile to him. Many of these youths were involved in the abortive attempt to invade the main election counting centre for Jaffna district located at the Jaffna Central College premises. They were dispersed by the Special Task Force and Police Riot Squad then.
Despite the disturbances, Thurairajasingham related his side of the story and stated clearly that he had not acted unilaterally without discussing with Senathirajah. Thurairajasingham revealed that he had spoken on three occasions with Senathirajah about the national list MP matter and that the ITAK Leader had indeed been informed of Kalaiarasan being nominated. This was not denied by Senathirajah.
Thus the wind was taken out of the sails of the charge that Thurairajasingham had not discussed the matter with Senathirajah. The only “offence” committed by the Gen -Secy was not keeping Senathirajah informed that the official letter nominating Kalaiarasan had been sent to the Election Commission.
Thereafter the envisaged motion of censure lost much of its proposed sting. The motion was drafted by CVK Sivagnanam who consulted lawyers Sumanthiran and Thavarasah while doing so. Finally, the whittled down toothless motion reprimanding Thurairajasingham mildly for the lapse in informing the ITAK Leader was passed. It appeared that the mountains had laboured and brought forth a mouse. Despite the attempts to unseat him, Krishnapillai Thurairajasingham will continue to function as the ITAK General – Secretary!
What is saddening and maddening about this matter is that the Central Working Committee of the chief political party representing the Sri Lankan Tamil people had devoted its time and energy to such a trivial and ephemeral issue such as this at a time when the Tamils in particular and the minorities, in general, face a bleak future in the Island after the Presidential poll of 2019 and Parliamentary elections. Nero at least fiddled making music while Rome burnt. But the ITAK members keep attacking each other while storm clouds loom large on the political horizon.
Firecracker Fizzled Into Damp Squib
The expected firecracker of a no-confidence motion fizzling out into a damp squib was not the only issue at the Vavuniya General Working Committee meeting. Much heat rather than light was generated at the conclave. Those matters can be related on another occasion.
D.B.S.Jeyaraj can be reached at email@example.com
Internal Strife Within Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) Takes Disturbing Turn
The “Mathiya Seyal Kuzhu” (central working committee) of the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) also known as the Federal Party will be meeting today (Aug 29) in Vavuniya. The committee is generally referred to as “Mathiya Kuzhu”(Central Committee). The Central Working Committee is the key representative body of the ITAK. It comprises representatives elected by each district as well as ex-officio members. The ITAK is the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils of the Northern and Eastern provinces and the chief constituent of the three-party configuration known as the Tamil National Alliance(TNA).
Senathirajah, Thurairajasingham and Kalaiarasan
Earlier I had been looking forward to the ITAK central committee meeting taking place soon. This was because I expected the chief Tamil political party to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country and formulate a basic policy framework for the future. The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa followed by the overwhelming electoral victory of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) has created an unenviable situation for the Sri Lankan Tamils in particular and the numerical minority communities in general.
Sri Lanka’s ruling regime today takes great pride in proclaiming that it is “of, for and by” the majority community. The minority ethnicities may have equality on paper but in practice will be relegated to second class status. Several Constitutional provisions face an existential threat and the limited progress achieved on many fronts including ethnic relations and power-sharing may be rolled back. In such a situation it is imperative that a party such as the ITAK meets, discusses and forges a political approach to cope with the new regime’s policies. Moreover, the ITAK had suffered an electoral setback in the recent polls and it is very necessary to discuss its decline in-depth and devise plans to revive and reinvigorate the party.
It is in that context that I was awaiting the ITAK committee meeting with great expectations. However some disturbing developments this week has altered my mindset on this matter. I now await this meeting with concern rather than hope. The long-festering internal strife within the ITAK has taken what may amount to a disturbing and dangerous turn.
Trial of Strength
In last week’s article, I did say that sparks may fly in this meeting. But what seems more likely to happen is an explosive showdown which may result in fracturing the party. Instead of discussing crucially important issues and formulating a future approach, the ITAK conclave in Vavuniya may become the arena for a trial of strength between two broad factions unless of course saner counsel prevails on both sides in time.
The intra-party conflict within a political party would not be a matter of great concern but for the fact that the ITAK being weakened or divided at this point of time would be most undesirable from a Tamil perspective. On the one hand, there is greater majoritarian consolidation but on the other hand, there is increasing minority fragmentation. While the two main Sinhala dominated party led alliances have more than 175 Sinhala MP’s among themselves the remaining 45 plus non – Sinhala MP’s represent around a dozen parties or more. In spite of faults and deficiencies the election of a bloc of MP”s from a single Tamil party or alliance has been immensely helpful in containing or checking majority domination to some extent at least in the past. The TNA which had 16 seats in the last Parliament has only 10 in the new one. Of this, the ITAK tally is 6. A split, therefore, needs to be avoided.
Sampanthan & Sumanthiran
What is saddening and maddening about the current ITAK crisis is that it could have been easily averted by ITAK president Somasundaram Senathirajah known as “Maavai” Senathirajah had he acted with more restraint and greater responsibility. Even worse is the fact that Senathirajah himself has contributed and is contributing to the problem in very great measure through his utterly selfish lust for power and greed for the post. In fact, there is growing suspicion that Senathirajah himself is fomenting much of the friction through his accomplices and minions while posturing as the innocent aggrieved victim of conspiracies against him.
Readers may recall that this columnist has written several articles in the past about the problems within the TNA in general and the ITAK in particular. I outlined some of the prickly issues in last week’s article in this paper and appealed to both sides to avoid a possible confrontation. The final two paragraphs of the piece were as follows –
“It is expected that the ITAK leader would level charges against ITAK secretary Thurairajasingham and others at the 52 members executive committee meeting in Vavuniya on August 29th. In such a situation ITAK parliamentarians like Shritharan and Sumanthiran will also present their side of the story with supportive evidence. If that happens the sparks are sure to fly and place the ITAK leader in an unenviable position.”
“As an old acquaintance of “Maavai” Senathirajah and having the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamil people at heart, this writer wishes fervently that the ITAK leader would act with mature responsibility and adopt an urgent course correction. Likewise, it is to be hoped that others like Sumanthiran and Shritharan too conduct themselves with greater restraint and prudence to prevent a serious calamity befalling the chief political configuration representing the Tamils of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka”.
My article seemed to have struck a responsive chord among many readers. I got several mails and calls from familiar and unfamiliar readers endorsing the views expressed. What was more important was what seemed to be good news emanating from Jaffna. Several well-intentioned individuals and groups from professionals, social activists and religious dignitaries were actively engaging with Senathirajah and earnestly requesting him to ease and resolve the situation.
The initial response from the ITAK leader was positive and encouraging. He appeared to have realised the gravity of the situation. Senaathirajah seemed apologetic and “confessed” that he had been misinformed and misled by some of his cohorts. The impression conveyed to some intermediaries was that of “Maavai” being willing to call it quits and extend an olive branch.
No Confidence Motion
Alas! That was not to be. A mini-bombshell exploded midweek. Four important ITAK officials – all of them aligned to Senathirajah- gave notice of a no-confidence motion against ITAK general secretary Krishnapillai Thurairajasingham. Funnily enough notice of the motion against Thurairajasingham was sent to him directly as he is the General secretary. They wanted the no-confidence motion to be taken up for discussion and voting at the General working committee meeting. The wording of the motion called for immediate removal of Thurairajasingham from the office of General Secretary. The four signatories are former Northern Provincial Council Chairman CVK Sivagnam, ITAK party treasurer K. Kanagasabapathy, ITAKMayor of Jaffna Emmanuel Arnold and Ex – Northern provincial councillor Paranjothy Kuhabalan. As stated in last week’s article Sivagnanam and Kanagasabapathy are regarded as the right and left hands of Senathirajah.
The ITAK general – secretary Thurairajasingham is a former Batticaloa district MP. He is also a former Eastern provincial councillor and ex-provincial minister. Thurairajasingham like Senathirajah contested the last parliamentary poll and lost. The main allegation in the no-confidence motion against the Gen -Secy is that he did not inform the ITAK president Senathirajah or consult him before nominating defeated Amparai district candidate Thavarajah Kalaiarasan as the TNA national list MP.
What had happened was this. The TNA which had been elected to nine seats. was entitled to appoint a national list MP. Since the TNA contests under the ITAK symbol of House, it is the ITAK secretary who acts officially on behalf of the TNA. Earlier when election nominations were being finalized, TNA parliamentary group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan had wanted his deputy Kathiravelu Sanmugam Kuhadasan who was also a prospective candidate to be appointed as the TNA MP on the national list. The TNA nomination committee agreed to Kuhadasan being nominated as MP after elections. With the TNA getting only one National list seat in the 2020 polls, it was Kuhadasan who had to be nominated as MP. However there was a hitch.
The Ampara/Amparai district had failed to return a Tamil MP. The district was one where the Tamils numbering 19% were the third largest ethnicity. Moreover, most Tamil areas were under-developed. Thus an MP was necessary to look after Tamil interests in the district. Moreover, the Elections Commission had urged ITAK secretary K. Thurairajasingham to select the MP to be appointed as soon as possible. Hence an emergency meeting was held at Sampanthan’s residence with Thurairajasingham, Sumanthiran and Kuhadasan participating. Sumanthiran had apparently gone to Trinco to appraise Sampanthan of what had happened in the main counting centre at Jaffna Central College. On August 7th.
Kuhadasan magnanimously agreed to forego the MP seat that should have been rightfully his. It was decided to appoint defeated candidate Thavarasa Kalaiarasan of the ITAK as national list MP. Kalaiarasan was an ardent ITAK activist and was the Naavithanveli Pradeshiya Sabha chairman. So Kalaiarasan was nominated to provide Amparai district with a Tamil MP. Thurarajasingham did the paperwork and Kalaiarasan was gazetted as MP.
ITAK leader Senathirajah, however, had other ideas. A meeting was convened hastily by the ITAK Jaffna branch where a resolution was passed urging that the defeated ITAK leader should be appointed as MP. Ex-NPC chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam and ITAK Jaffna branch head Kanagasabapathy went to Trinco with the proposal to appoint Senathirajah as MP. Senathirajah himself telephoned Sampanthan and Thurairajasingham insisting that he be made MP. Senathirajah pleaded that he did not want to be MP but had to bow down to the wishes of party members who wanted him to be the MP. Therefore he wanted the MP post. Senathirajah’s efforts were not fruitful. The pressure was exerted on Kalaiarasan to resign the post by pro- Senathirajah elements. Kalaiarasan simply became “inaccessible”.
ITAK General Secretary
Senathirajah was furious. The ITAK leader raised the issue in Trincomalee when the nine-member Politbureau met at Sampanthan’s residence on August 15. However, the ITAK president switched gears and began to berate the ITAK General secretary K. Thurairajasingham for not adopting the correct procedure in appointing the MP. He said the TNA Coordinating Committee should have decided on the matter. He also said that the TNA constituents TELO and PLOTE should have been consulted.
Three others in the ITAK Politbureau were supportive of Senathirajah. They were CVK Sivagnanam, Xavier Kulanayagam and KV Thavarasah. Those supportive of Thurairajasingham were S. Shritharan, MA Sumanthiran and Dr P. Sathiyalingam. It was a 4 to 4 tie but Sampanthan clinched the issue by coming down firmly in support of Thurairajasingham. Furthermore, Sampanthan stated he fully endorsed Thurairajasingham’s action and shared responsibility for it. Instead of letting it go, the ITAK leader said that the National list appointment issue would be taken up at the Central Committee meeting in Vavuniya on August 29.
It is in this context that the no-confidence motion against Gen -Secy Thurairajasingham is going to be taken up at the Vavuniya committee meeting. Senathirajah’s real grouse is that he was not given the national list MP post. Instead of saying so directly, he is harping on proper procedure not being adopted. The ITAK leader certainly has a point in saying that the correct procedure was not followed but what he does not seem to realise is that this was so because of his deplorable conduct.
Had Senathirajah been a responsible unselfish party leader with the larger interests of the Tamil people at heart, he himself should have taken the initiative in appointing an Amparai district Tamil as MP. Instead Senathirajah was trying to grab the seat for himself at the expense of Amparai district Tamils. The crux of the matter is that adopting improper procedure was a necessary evil to thwart the unjustifiable avarice of Senathirajah and ensure justice was done to Amparai Tamils.
Interestingly enough there is a history between Senathirajah and the Amparai Tamils. In 1994 the LTTE was controlling the greater part of Jaffna district while the EPDP was entrenched in the army-controlled offshore Island areas. So the ITAK which was then a component of the TULF did not contest Jaffna. Senathirajah contested from the Amparai district and lost. The TULF won three seats in Batticaloa and one in Trincomalee and was entitled to a national list seat which was earmarked for Dr.Neelan Tiruchelvam.
“Mavai” Senathirajah, however, demanded the national list seat for himself stating that the Amparai Tamils required Parliamentary representation. Buses and vans with Amparai Tamil youths were transported to Colombo to pressurize the TULF hierarchy into awarding the MP seat to Maavai in the name of Amparai Tamils. This was not acceded to and Senathirajah protested that Amparai Tamils were being given step-motherly treatment. The very same Senathirajah who wanted to be an MP to represent Amparai Tamils was now prepared to deprive them of an MP so that he could re-enter Parliament.
Three Other Motives
All this is likely to be aired in the open when the no-confidence motion against Thurairajasingham is discussed. A frank discussion would certainly expose Senathirajah and reflect badly on him. Yet the ITAK leader egged on by his henchmen and cronies seems determined to go ahead with his anti-Thurairajasingham moves. Apart from wreaking vengeance on Thurairajasingham for nominating another as National list MP, there may be three other motives behind the no-confidence motion exercise.
Firstly by removing Thurairajasingham, the ITAK leader may intend replacing him with a loyalist puppet. Secondly, he may utilize the Central committee vote as a trial of strength to gauge how much of support he has within the 52 member committee as opposed to his perceived adversaries. Thirdly and most importantly the no-confidence motion may be nominally against Thurairajasingham but is also targeting the others involved in denying a national list MP post to Senathirajah, namely R. Sampanthan and MA Sumanthiran.
Some days ago there were reports in the Tamil newspapers that Senathirajah’s son Kalaiamuthan had a tete -a -tete with TMTK leader and Jaffna MP C.V. Wigneswaran. There were also speculative reports that moves were on to form a new united front among Tamil nationalist parties including the ITAK/TNA that would exclude Sampanthan, Shritharan, Sumanthiran and Thurairajasingham. One does not know whether there is any truth to the reports about forming a new alliance sans the Sampanthan led quartet. However, it does provide much food for thought in the current no-confidence motion milieu.
The no-confidence motion attempt by Senathirajah’s cabal had a predictable response. There was a closing of ranks among those supportive of the MP seat being given to Amparai’s Kalaiarasan instead of the ITAK leader. Jaffna district MP Sivagnanam Shritharan who had already sent a formal complaint about the manner in which ITAK Jaffna candidate Saravanapavan had attacked him in his newspapers, forwarded another detailed complaint to Senathirajah. Shritharan had already provided Senathirajah a CD with audio-visual evidence about how ITAK youth elements had run riot at the Jaffna Central College premises.
Former Northern Provincial minister and defeated ITAK candidate for Wanni Dr Pathmanathan Sathiyalingam also submitted a formal complaint to Senathirajah with details of how Saravanapavan’s newspapers had attacked him during the election campaign. He attributed the drop in ITAK votes to this campaign and demanded action against the media “mudalaali”. Incidentally, the complaints against Saraanapavan are nothing new. The ITAK leader had been informed of this on several occasions in the past but did not take any action as Saravanapavan was closely associated with Senathirajah.
Jaffna district MP and ITAK/TNA spokesman Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran presented the ITAK leader Senathirajah a dossier with precise details of how certain prominent persons in the ITAK had systematically worked during the election campaign as well as pre-election days to politically undermine him. He has also chronicled the unpleasant happenings at Jaffna Central College premises on Aug 7th. Sumanthiran has demanded that the ITAK president should immediately take action against eight individuals and sack them from the party. These comprise an ex-MP from Jaffna, a Colombo lawyer, four youth activist and two women members.
Chief Strategist Sivagnanam
Meanwhile, Senathirajah’s chief strategist CVK Sivagnanam began communicating with members of the central committee in a bid to canvass support for the no-confidence motion. He reportedly met with a mixed response in the North. There was support as well as opposition. Sivagnanam thereafter began contacting Eastern representatives. Though Thurairajasingham is from Batticaloa, thee are many ITAK stalwarts in the East who are not well disposed towards him. In fact, some have been clamouring for a change. If Sivagnanam
C.V.K. Sivagnanamhad thought he could capitalize on those sentiments, he was in for a rude shock.
In spite of their issues with Thurairajasingham, most Eastern ITAK committee members refused to support the no-confidence motion against him. One reason was that the appointment of Kalaiarasan to represent Amparai district Tamils was welcomed as a positive move by Eastern Tamil ITAK members. Senathirajah’s efforts to block that and grab the MP post for himself was strongly resented.
Another reason was that even those B’caloa Tamils who wanted a change of Gen -Secy did not want Thurairajasingham to be removed through a no-confidence motion. They felt a senior leader of Thurairajasingham’s calibre should not be demeaned or humiliated in this way. Sivagnanam was reportedly taken aback when a youth leader from the East stated: “ If you bring a no-confidence motion against the secretary from the East, we will bring a no-confidence motion against the President from the North”.
I telephoned MA Sumanthiran and inquired from him as to what was likely to happen if the no-confidence motion was taken up for a vote. The Jaffna district MP who is also a President’s Counsel replied that there are some issues pertaining to the ITAK party Constitution that needed to be clarified before a no-confidence motion vote could be taken up. He declined to elaborate further.
Fire-cracker or Damp Squib?
It is against this backdrop that the controversial ITAK committee meeting is scheduled to take place today (29) in Vavuniya. It remains to be seen whether it would be an explosive fire-cracker as expected or simply fizzle out to be a damp squib. One thing, however, is certain. The fault lines visible within the ITAK/TNA will not simply vanish in the days to come.
D.B.S.Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an Updated Version of an article written for the DBS Jeyaraj Column in the “Daily Mirror” of August 29, 2020. It can be accessed here: