(Tamil dancers perform during an annual festival at the Venkatvar Sri Vishnu Hindu temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.)
Three political parties representing Tamils have decided to join hands to form a new political front in Sri Lanka, saying the main Tamil National Alliance only represent community members from the northern and eastern part of the country.
Mano Ganesan, the leader of the Democratic Peoples Front, a minority party for the Western province Tamils said two other political parties representing Tamils in the central hill plantations are to join his party to form the new political front.
“Tamils live not only in the north and east. There are Tamils who live in the western, northwestern, central and southwestern provinces,” Ganesan said.
He said the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) represents the north and eastern Tamils.
There are 3.2 million Tamils out of which a half live outside north and east. So the TNA can’t represent them, Ganesan said.
The National Union of Workers (NUW) and Up Country People’s Front (UCPF), both from the central hill plantations represent Tamils of Indian-origin are to join Ganesan’s party.
“We must stop calling them Indian origin Tamils. They are Tamils so why tag them Indian-origin Tamils?” he asked.
Both NUW and UCPF supported the current President Maithripala Sirisena in the January presidential election when he defeated incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sirisena received overwhelming minority support enabling him to defeat Rajapaksa the man favoured by the majority Sinhalese.
With a parliamentary election looming, the new Tamil alliance would be crucial for the incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wuickremesinghe’s United National Party.
Ganesan has been a long standing ally of the UNP.
Sirisena promised to call a fresh parliamentary poll by April 23, at the end of his government’s first 100 days.
The decision is now put on hold as he is keen to introduce electoral reform before holding elections