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Lankan govt continues to sideline TNA, says MP

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:03 No Comment]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is publicly committed to taking an “inclusive approach” to the solution of Sri Lanka’s problems. And External Affairs Minister G L Peiris declared in New Delhi recently that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is the single largest Tamil party in parliament, was “on board” in government’s efforts to find solutions to the Tamils’ problems. Yet, the TNA gets no invitation to attend meetings of relevance to the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces, the party complains.

“We were not invited to the President’s meeting at Trincomalee to discuss matters relating to the Eastern province. And there is no invitation for the meeting to discuss questions relating to the Northern province, which is to be held in Vavuniya on Tuesday,” Suresh Premachandran, MP for Jaffna district, told ‘Express’ on Monday. “What kind of democracy is this when the elected representatives of the people are not invited to meetings where their fate will be decided?” he asked.

The TNA has 13 MPs representing the North and East. The Jaffna MP pointed out that Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the President’s son and MP, Namal Rajapaksa, had visited Jaffna and the Wanni many times, but never had they sought a meeting with TNA MPs of the area.

“The government prefers to deal with a select set of Tamil politicians aligned with it like Douglas Devananda, Sri Ranga and Rishard Bathiuddin. Even the Eastern province Chief Minister Pillayan and Deputy Rehabilitation Minister Karuna do not count for much,” he said.

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