SLMC Smashed the Multiethnic UNP Votebase

Dilrook Kannangara

Whoever said that the UNP lost the support of Tamils and Sinhalese in the East owing to its tie-up with the SLMC is correct. Sri Lanka Muslim (emphasis on a race) Congress by definition is a racial political party as much as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (emphasis on a race) Elam and Sinhala (emphasis on a race) Urumaya. SLMC has turned into an ultra racist extremist and separatist party under the leadership of its present unfortunate leader. UNP voters cannot be fooled any further that the SLMC will not be given the Chief Minister post as it is public news now. No Sinhala and Tamil voter of right mind will vote for the UNP at the EP election now. The multiethnic UNP votebase was smashed by the SLMC just like the UNPers smashing pots and pans! This is the reality.

The purported ‘sacrifice’ of the parliamentary seat by the SLMC leader and his close allies is not a sacrifice at all. None of them was elected by the people in the first place! All of them came from the “list” and Muslim voters in the East rejected them in 2004. As a result not only Tamils and Sinhalese but also a sizable number of Muslim UNP voters are going to defect. This was explained by the UNP stalwart Abdul Cader, MP recently. UNP simply became a toilet paper yet again in the hands of separatists.

SLMC leader’s nexus to the LTTE leader is indisputable. Way back in 2001 he declared a separate Muslim state in the East that resulted in losing his ministry. This proved for the first time his racist-separatist intentions to divide this country to create racial enclaves. The same year at the General Election, he was involved in an incident that killed 10 election activists in Pallethalawinna in Kandy. And that was the last time he was voted by Kandy voters! In 2002 he signed a MoU with the LTTE surrendering the right to represent the Muslims in the North-East to the LTTE. Accordingly the LTTE initiated a riot in June 2002 in Vaalachchenai against peace loving Muslims; scores were killed and thousands were evicted. SLMC leader’s piggery didn’t stop there.

At the 2005 Presidential Election a former UNP MP’s daughter committed suicide right in front of the house of this individual alleging sexual involvement. May be the directors of this drama now sit in the UNP, but the fact that a woman burnt herself to death at his doorstep speaks volumes as it doesn’t ordinarily happen to every MP. In 2006 again the LTTE executed the SLMC-LTTE MoU and killed a dozen Muslim farmers in the East. The SLMC leader blamed the STF and agitated people to attack the STF who have been selflessly protecting them. In the ensuing clashes one (1) STF personnel was brutally killed by the unruly goons that resulted in a lawsuit by the STF head Nimal Lewke. Then in 2007 after shamelessly consuming Ministerial benefits greedily, this individual with his clique defected the government and voted against the very same budget that sustained them. He has since been shamelessly enjoying Ministerial security!

How can Sinhala and Tamil voters trust a man of such calibre when even his own clan doesn’t trust him?

There is a very high possibility that this greedy politician will instigate racial riots leading up to the election as that is the only way to make him look important. Security forces and paramilitary groups must be fully aware of this possibility and should take firm and effective steps to stop such violence. There is no sense in sacrificing the lives of STF personnel to protect rioters.

The Eastern Province needs a multiethnic ruling coalition just as its ethnic fabric. Given the numbers, an Eastern Tamil-Muslim-Sinhala coalition is the best to rule the EP. However, a Muslim Chief Minster is imperative as that is the correct depiction of political ambitions of the majority Easterners. It would be best to share the Chief Minister post among a Muslim and an Eastern Tamil. Only the UPFA-TMVP alliance has this potential to coexist.

There is yet another complication. LTTE has not given up its stranglehold on the East and has fielded a dummy political party. Besides the legitimacy of their right to contest, it is clear they are after robbing the Eastern Tamils’ right to their separate identity. The 2006 Supreme Court decision initiated the Eastern liberation process followed by the 2007 August military liberation. It will be complete with an Eastern Provincial legislature coming into being and functioning harmoniously with the rest of the country and the Central government. A possible UNP win will reverse this liberation process. As the SLMC leader’s MoU with the LTTE is still active, LTTE can easily ride back to the helm on the elephant back.

However, if the UNP wins, the SLMC leader becomes the Chief Minister. Although the LTTE terrorists are convinced that he is their humble servant, the LTTE would not tolerate a Muslim heading the EP as it shatters the Tamil Elam myth, the Tamil homelands myth, the Tamil Elam map myth and the Tamil Elam dream altogether. The LTTE strongly believes that East is the granary of the North (of Tamil Elam) and Tamil-speaking Muslims are part of the mythical Tamil nation governed entirely by Northern Tamils. Even in the 2002 ‘peace talks’ the SLMC leader participated as a mere government delegate and never as a Muslim representative. Hence the election of the SLMC leader as the only Chief Minister of the EP will antagonise the LTTE which may spill into the UNP as well. The UNP will have to choose between the LTTE and the SLMC. All this time (even at the 2005 Presidential Election, the 2005/6/7 budget votes, etc) it didn’t have to make this tough choice. Given the money, protection and political clout the LTTE provides to the UNP, it is unlikely that there will be a fallout between the UNP and the LTTE anytime soon. This further complicates the issue and the SLMC will even further distance itself from the other communities. It has the potential of degenerating into another LTTE.

On the other hand given this context, the worth of the TMVP both as a paramilitary group and as a political party increases. It can provide ground level resistance of any magnitude to any and all separatist forces. Therefore the TMVP should not be disarmed until the threat from the LTTE and its henchmen totally disappears.

It is timely to introduce tougher anti-separatism laws and to execute already available legislation. I also urge the government to immediately withhold Ministerial security (that was provided to ordinary MPs recently) to those who have renounced their membership of parliament. They simply do not deserve it legally and morally and it will be a grand act of corruption costing millions of rupees of taxpayers’ money to continue to provide security to them.

The plight of the SLMC and the UNP is a serious one as they try to go their own ways while being stuck to the LTTE. While the SLMC association with the LTTE can destroy it, the UNP-SLMC tie-up will destroy the UNP. This is best explained by the old adage “if you sleep with dogs, you will wake up with fleas”. It will be very interesting to see how these dogs and fleas shape the politics of the East and the nation as a whole. I bet it is going to be unpleasant.

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