The four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could be close to losing another of its constituent parties, the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), as the ripples caused by the sudden political changes in the country begin to take their toll on all board political parties.
The TNA has already seen one of its members, Batticaloa District MP S. Viyalendran, defecting to the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), an unprecedented step by a member of the alliance thus far.
Viyalendran belonged to the Democratic People's Liberation Front (DPLF), the political wing of the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), one of the constituent parties of the TNA.
Problems within the TNA have been simmering for a while now, with both EPRLF and PLOTE members unhappy at being given the cold shoulder by the leader of the TNA, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, and those in his inner circle.
Last month TNA MP (EPRLF) Sivasakthy Ananthan told Parliament that he had been denied time to speak in Parliament for the past 10 months despite repeated requests. He said that the Opposition Leader deliberately blocked his freedom of expression by not allocating time for him, thus depriving him of his fundamental rights and parliamentary privileges.
Sources in the camp opposed to the TNA leadership say they feel that the party could have capitalised better on the present situation but instead the TNA leader has missed a rare opportunity to further the cause of the Tamil people.
The sources said that this opportunity could be utilised to meet up with members of the diplomatic community in Colombo such as those representing the US, Norway and Britain, and impress on them that the TNA can help solve the problem at a time there is a threat to democracy as it has a decisive number of MPs and also call on the diplomatic community in Sri Lanka to mediate as a third party to solve the Tamil issue in the island, something which has not been solved for 70 years.
“Even other Opposition parties could have joined with the TNA calling on the diplomatic community to directly intervene and support it. Sampanthan could have told the diplomatic community to mediate as a third party and in return give an undertaking or a pledge of support. However, he has been continuously talking about the violation of the Constitution and democracy but has failed to mention the violation of the rights of Tamil people during the last few days,” the sources said.
It is claimed that the disgruntled TNA MP is contemplating his future course. Some alleged he no longer wanted to sit with the TNA, especially with its leader, who for one year has not given him an appointment to meet him, despite talking highly of the good governance regime.
“He had complained to the Speaker and to Ranil Wickremesinghe but to no avail. He is disappointed over the fact that a good governance government or regime hasn't given an appointment to one its own MPs for almost a year, not afforded the right to talk about democracy, violations or the messing up of parliamentary traditions," they added.