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LTTE cultivating Tamil Nadu CM

With things not going too well for it, the LTTE is fishing for M Karunanidhi's support, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 13:29 IST

With things not going too well for it in the Eastern sector since April, and given the possibility of losing the strategically important Vaharai,the LTTE is now fishing for political support from Tamil Nadu to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to abandon its bid to take Vaharai.

Most importantly, it is cultivating the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who it had viewed for long as a "shifty and opportunistic politician" unlike his rival the "Golden hearted" MG Ramachandran (MGR).

Helping the LTTE in its venture in Chennai is the exodus of Tamil civilians from the Vaharai region in the Batticaloa district of East Sri Lanka.

The LTTE says that the exodus is due to shelling by the Sri Lankan Armed forces, but the government says that it is due to the LTTE's callously using civilians as a shield in the fighting.

Anywhere between 23,000 and 28,000 have quit the area to join about 70,000 other Tamil refugees in various parts of the districts of Batticaloa and Amparai.

The flow is unceasing, creating a huge humanitarian problem and attracting international attention.

Karunanidhi meets SL Tamil MPs

The situation in Vaharai having excited public opinion in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Karunanidhi felt constrained to call Sri Lankan MPs belonging to the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for a meeting at Chennai.

At the meeting held on Wednesday, Karunanidhi promised to take up the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils and pressurise New Delhi to take action to bring lasting peace to Sri Lanka.

But the action sought would have to be "realistic and practical", he told the MPs.

Karunanidhi was opposed to the impractical actions urged by some radical parties in Tamil Nadu which would only alienate the Sri Lankan government and complicate the problem.

Prabhakaran's "gratitude" to Karunanidhi

Even as the TNA MPs were talking to Karunanidhi, the LTTE's political wing leader, SP Tamilselvan, expressed his leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's gratitude to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for expressing grief over the demise of the outfit's chief negotiator and ideologue, Anton Balasingham.

In his message on the occasion of Balasingham's funeral in London on Wednesday, the only non-LTTE persons mentioned by Tamilselvan were Karunanidhi and the Norwegian Peace Envoy Erik Solheim.

"Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanithy was foremost in expressing his condolence on the demise of our Voice of the Nation.

We wish to convey our gratitude on behalf of the movement and our National Leader for his voice from Tamil Nadu," Tamilsevlan said.

"We are grateful for the honour he bestowed on Bala Annai as the one who kept the flame of Tamileelam's self-respect burning."

"By this act Karunanithy had proclaimed to the world the self-respect of the entire Tamils," the LTTE leader said.

New found ally

It was not so long ago, when the LTTE avoided Karunanidhi and wooed his arch rival, MG Ramachandran.

While MGR was hailed as a selfless contributor to the cause, Karunanidhi was reviled for trying to use the Sri Lankan Tamil question only to further his political interests in Tamil Nadu.

He was also accused of being opportunistic, supporting the cause when it was useful, and being shifty and non-committal when it was not.

Be that as it may, at this point of time, the LTTE has no option other than warming up to Karunanidhi because he is firmly entrenched in the seat of power both in Chennai and New Delhi.

First Published: Dec 21, 2006 13:27 IST