TNA names councillors for bonus seats
- Party to forward names to polls chief for gazetting today
- First bonus seat to defeated Muslim candidate from Mannar
- Second to be on rotational basis, female candidate from Mullaitivu on first rotation
- TNA leader denies sidelining Ananthi Sasitharan
By Dharisha Bastians
As it prepares to settle into provincial governance, the Tamil National Alliance that won 30 seats on the 38-seat Northern Provincial Council in the 21 September election has decided on its candidates for the two bonus seats the party secured as a result of its big win in all five electoral districts.
The TNA has decided to grant the first seat to a defeated Muslim Candidate from Mannar Ayub Nasmeen while the second seat would be granted on a rotational basis, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan told Daily FT yesterday.
The party will rotate that seat between a female defeated candidate, defeated candidates in the three districts of the Wanni, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Mannar and a Tamil candidate of recent Indian origin, the TNA Leader said.
He said the party would forward the bonus seat allocations to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya today for gazetting.
Defeated female candidate from Mullaitivu, Marykamala Gunaselan is likely to be given the TNA’s second bonus seat as the first rotation, Samapanthan said.
“A final decision on the Ministerial portfolios will be made within the next two days,” Samapanthan said.
Asked about speculation that the TNA was sidelining its only victorious female candidate at the Northern provincial polls and second in the party’s preferential list in Jaffna, Ananthi Sasitharan, Sampanthan dismissed the charge.
“Ananthi is quite young. We have many young and experienced people in the list of Northern Provincial Councillors. Some are experienced in specific fields like education, health, agriculture and so on,” the TNA Leader explained.
The party would have to consider their experience in the first instance, Sampanthan said.
“Younger people may have to wait a little while. Older more experienced people may have to take charge in the council’s initial stage,” he said, adding that all these matters were however still under consideration.
The decision not to grant Sasitharan a ministerial portfolio has irked her supporters who claim she is being sidelined because she is female and not proficient in the English language.
Ananthi Sasitharan is the wife of former LTTE political wing leader for Trincomalee, Elilan, and
has been a strong advocate for families of the disappeared in the north after she claims her own husband disappeared after surrendering in May 2009.
Sasitharan’s home in Jaffna was attacked the day before the 21 September poll, allegedly by a large group of men in military uniform.