Has Wigneswaran showed his gratitude?

Has Wigneswaran showed his gratitude?

Purujoththaman Thangamayl

Last Sunday, February 9th, saw the inauguration in Jaffna of an Alliance by the name of ‘Thamizh Makkal Thesiya Koottani’ led by former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran. On the day following a Tamil National People’s Front 2nd tier leader who had earlier been the first person to idolize the former Chief Minister as the next National Leader of the Tamils predicted thus during a Jaffna news channel interview, “….Wigneswaran’s Alliance is only for Parliamentary seats, the Alliance will break up within 6 months post-General Election”. In another video, we saw a political analyst, who had till a few weeks back been pushing the agenda that there should be an alternative front to the TNA led by Wiggy, suddenly recant his previous statements by saying ‘there is no equality in this new Alliance. It is an alliance only for elections, no wins can be achieved”.

February 9th was TNA Spokesperson Sumanthiran’s 56th birthday. On one hand, there was a marked increase in the numbers of supporters and devotees singing his praises on Social Media. On the other, his opponents wrote sarcastic posts about the new Alliance being a birthday gift to the TNA MP.

Will this new Alliance bring any benefit to Wiggy himself, those with him, and those who believed in him in the past is a question we need to raise. The answer is well known. But behind this answer lies the tragedy. This is an issue that Tamil Nationalist Politics needs to commit to self-introspection on. Those who promoted a person who could not make the right decisions at the right time as a political leader and important figure need to apologise for what they have done. Their acts have prevented the rise of real and capable personalities. In the Tamil political sphere, these people are now pretending to be unaware of the going ons and remain silent. They are the very same people who endorsed Wiggy as an alternative leadership against the TNA.

It has been five years since Wiggy and the TNA decision-makers started having tiffs. From then, we have seen the rise and descent of the Tamil People’s Council and similarly the heightened demand and slow disappearance of the call for an alternate leadership.  Following the last General Election, many including myself stated that ‘…there will be an increase in those dissatisfied with the sole representative claim of the TNA. Personalities who can bring together all the dissatisfied and connect them at one point can fill the vacancy for an alternate leadership to the TNA”. The TNA’s close working relationship with the previous government helped in increasing the number of those dissatisfied and was leading towards an accumulation against them. But even before this accumulation could take meaningful steps it was diluted when the Jaffna Centric Political base of the Tamil People’s Council requested that Wigneswaran be made Co-President of the TPC. Further, for Wigneswaran’s sake when they started uttering falsehoods that the TPC was not an election focused political formation it became evident that this formation was dependent on individuals who had no sense or foresight regarding future steps.

Civil Society Organisations or activists who want to establish themselves in a period post the catastrophic events of Mullivaikkal, need to gain trust within society and act with responsibility. But, the TPC compromised on everything for Wigneswaran’s sake. This made people not just lose trust in the TPC but also any future hopes in civil society. This caused the downfall of the TPC and the disappearance of a space for civil society organizations.

The TNPF which had since 2010 been proclaiming that they were the alternate to the TNA too compromised with Wiggy and lost their place. Those for an alternate leadership to the TNA for some days saw Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam as the alternate leader but he himself willingly handed that position to Wiggy and now rues the fact. Once again, the TNPF has started putting forth its credentials as the true alternate force and are now forced to attack Wiggy’s alliance more than the TNA during the days leading up to the next General Election.

The creation of Wiggy’s new alliance has prevented the accumulation of votes against the TNA by splitting those votes into two- between the TNPF and Wiggy’s new alliance. Some dissatisfied voters would even end up going back to the TNA due to the quibbling between these ‘so-called’ alternate forces.

Those who believed genuinely and worked tirelessly for an alternate leadership are now at the crossroads. Wiggy’s new alliance itself is one made of persons with no place to go.  Except EPRLF’s Suresh Premachandran, others in the alliance had till a few weeks back been very critical of Wiggy especially N.SriKantha of the Tamil Thesiya Katchi who had publicly accused the alliance as a ‘B Team’ of the TNA.

What would be the strength of this new Alliance? Only Suresh’s EPRLF has some voter power in Vavuniya. The others are all Jaffna- centric, would they be able to obtain votes against a strong formation like the TNA? It seems impossible. If so, the question arises as to on what hopes and, on whose votes, this new Alliance is dependent on? Maybe even Wiggy does not know the answer. After criticizing the TNA for so long he recently stated that if he wins in the election he would work with the TNA within Parliament. Would not people question why they would vote for someone who will go to Parliament to work with the TNA when they can directly vote for the TNA itself.

Comparatively this new Alliance has brought more benefits to the TNA. It has prevented the accumulation of varied personalities against the TNA and also split into two the dissatisfied votes. It has also gradually reduced the criticisms about the TNA leadership. Wiggy has indeed done good to his former leader R.Sampanthan and his former student M.A.Sumanthiran. Could it have been an expression of his gratitude?