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'Ready for talks on power sharing with Rajapaksa'

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was ready to discuss a power devolution package for Tamils within a unified Sri Lanka with the newly re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a top TNA leader said on Monday.

world Updated: Feb 01, 2010 20:58 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was ready to discuss a power devolution package for Tamils within a unified Sri Lanka with the newly re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a top TNA leader said on Monday.

According to reports, TNA chief R Sampanthan called upon Rajapaksa to talk with the Tamil leadership about giving "maximum possible devolution (of power) to the provinces without compromising national sovereignty."

The TNA once considered the political arm of the now defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has over time given up call for a separate Tamil station.

Rajapaksa defeated his nearest rival retired army chief Sarath Fonseka with a comfortable majority in last Tuesday’s Presidential election. (Fonseka has promised to challenge the verdict in court).

However, Fonseka overwhelmingly won from Tamil and Muslim-dominated regions in north and east Sri Lanka. Fonseka even won from Colombo city where Tamils, Muslims and Christians are in majority.

They suggested that while the devolution model could be bases on administrative systems followed in India or Canada, Sri Lanka should develop its own model and "people in their own locality should be allowed to take charge of their own socio political destiny.’’

Sampanthan said Rajapaksa should introspect why he failed to win from minority-dominated areas.
Sampanthan and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress chief, Rauff Hakeem, said people in the just concluded election have given them a ‘renewed mandate’ to be their legitimate representative. They urged Rajapaksa to move towards political reconciliation and start the process of devolution of power to the provinces in an undivided Sri Lanka.

Sampanthan and Hakeem said they would contest the upcoming general election on a common platform to represent the Tamil speaking population in Sri Lanka.