TNA leader Sampanthan was invited at a short notice on Monday night to meet Mahinda Rajapaksa at his house on Tuesday morning. According to a press release by Mr. R. Sampanthan on Tuesday, at the end of many topics that were discussed, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa “responded by inviting Mr.Sampanthan to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and stated these matters could be addressed when the process commenced. Mr.Sampanthan responded by stating that the TNA has never taken up the position that it will not attend the PSC, but has only insisted that commitments made must be implemented before attending the PSC sessions. It was agreed that this matter would be further pursued on the return of the President from his visit to India.”
Mr. Sampanthan has raised matters related to election malpractices in the Eastern Province; intimidation to elected TNA members, possibilities of forming government along with SLMC, resettlement in Champoor and Valikaamam and appointment of Tamil-speaking governors and Government Agents in the North and East.
Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated Sampanthan “on coming a good second at the Eastern Provincial Elections.”
Had the elections been free and fair, the TNA would have come first, Sampanthan replied.
According to the TNA press release, Mahinda Rajapaksa told Sampanthan that he was prepared to sit in the opposition and he had indicated that to the SLMC too.
When Sampanthan brought out the matter of harassment to five elected councillors of the TNA by SL military intelligence personnel, pressurising the councillors to cross over to Colombo government’s side, Mahinda Rajapaksa initially denied that, but later agreed to look into the matter, the TNA press statement said.
The agreement citing further discussions after Rajapaksa’s return from India aims at diffusing the mounting opposition in India to Rajapaksa’s visit, political observers in Colombo said.
Full text of the statement by Mr Sampanthan follows:
Following on an invitation from Mr.Lalith Weeratunge, Secretary to the President to the TNA leader Mr.R.Sampanthan on the night of 17th September 2012, for a meeting at the President House on18th morning, a meeting took place between the President and Mr.Sampanthan as arranged. Ministers Maithripala Sirisena and Professor G.L.Peiris were also present at the meeting.
The President congratulated Mr.Sampanthan on coming a good second at the Eastern Provincial Elections and Mr.Sampanthan stated that if the elections had been free and fair the TNA would have come first. Mr.Sampanthan further stated that as per the mandate received by the TNA and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (S.L.M.C.), the TNA invited the SLMC to form a government and offered the SLMC the Chief Ministership. The United National Party (UNP) would have backed such an arrangement The President responded by stating theta he was quite prepared to sit in the opposition and indicated to this to the SLMC and also referred to the offer made by the TNA to the SLMC. He however stated the now things were finalized.
Mr.Sampanthan stated that eleven members elected to the Eastern Provincial Council from the TNA should be able to function freely and independently and without any deterrence or discrimination. If this did not happen it ould mean that the Tamil people were being punished and this should not be allowed. Mr.Sampanthan also stated that five of the elected Provincial Council members from eh TNA were approached and harassed with offers of vehicles, houses, money and contracts to cross over to the government and the telephone numbers and vehicle numbers of these persons, believed to be military intelligencer personnel, were available. The President initially denied this but later agreed to look into the matter.
Mr.Sampanthan also raised the question of resettlement in Sampoor and Valikaamam and the appointment of civilians as Governors of the Northern and Eastern provinces and the appointment of Tamil speaking civilians as Government Agents of Trincomalee and Ampaarai.
The President responded by inviting Mr.Sampanthan to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and stated these matters could be addressed when the process commenced. Mr.Sampanthan responded by stating that the TNA has never taken up the position that it will not attend the PSC, but has only insisted that commitments made must be implemented before attending the PSC sessions. It was agreed that this matter would be further pursued on the return of the President from his visit to India.