Colombo, Elections, Jaffna, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Why should Tamil speaking communities give critical support to Sarath Fonseka?

Authors note: This expands on a comment I left on Groundviews here, in response to my last article In defense of the JVP campaign to support Sarath Fonseka.

Tamils must not play a sectarian role in the presidential election. That’ll be counterproductive. This is not the time for Tamils to do politics based on anger and hatred. Tamils, I think, should realize democratic transformation of the Centre is crucial for them. Also, Tamil-speaking people – including plantation-workers & Muslims and Colombo Tamils- live all over Sri Lanka. Therefore, it’s important to make all calculations in general terms, not in sectarian terms. All parties of the Tamil-speaking people should maintain a solid united front in presenting their demands. They should present them to the General in no uncertain terms. It should amount to a critical support – not a blank cheque.

The presidential election will mark a unique turn in Sri Lankan politics, irrespective of the protagonist’s personal background. This election will change Sinhala majority’s post-independent consciousness substantially. Sri Lanka will never be the same whatever the outcome.

But, it’ll be better if the General wins. For, such a change will accelerate the change. Remember, he doesn’t represent any politically deep-rooted party of the Establishment. That’s positive. A substantial section of the Sinhala majority – who backed the crushing of the Tigers for its separatist/terrorist politics – will oppose the Mahinda-regime in this election for very good reasons. It is absolutely important to educate this section of the Sinhala majority to go beyond their changing mindset. They should be helped to grasp democratic/socialist values. This election campaign provides an unprecedented opportunity to do exactly that. In order to do this, enlightened minority should participate in their experience along with them. This is why JVP’s backing of the General is prudent.

It would have been much better if the entire Left – along with the JVP – took the same stance, and use the electoral platform to educate the people anticipating post-electoral developments. This is why I think Comrade Bahu is wrong to contest independently. Now that he is contesting, he could still use the election-platform for propaganda purposes, and pull out towards the end of the campaign appealing his supporters to vote for the General; I’ve no doubt he’ll be able to give extremely sensible reasons why he’s pulling out. His supporters will surely understand that.