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Relief for Vaiko

Sri Lankan dailies say that Vaiko's defection may actually be beneficial for the Tamils, writes PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 17:19 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

Sri Lankan Tamils, who were initially shocked by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko's defection from the DMK-led coalition to the Jayalalithaa camp, now feel that the defection may actually be beneficial to them.

Tamil sources, both moderate and radical, told Hindustan Times that with Vaiko's defection, both the two main political formations in Tamil Nadu - one led by the DMK and the other led by the AIADMK - now have supporters of the Sri LankanTamil cause.

And both Chennai and Delhi would have pro-Sri Lankan Tamil elements, they point out.

The DMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) are in the United Peoples' Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.

And MDMK and the Viduthalai Siruthaigal (Liberation Leopards) are with the Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu.

"We now have a double-barrel gun in India," said the editor of a Tamil daily known to reflect the thinking of the LTTE.

"It is a good change," he added.

Previously, most of the important pro-Sri Lankan Tamil leaders, like Vaiko and Dr Ramadoss of the PMK, were with the DMK-led coalition.

T Thirumavalavan of the Viduthalai Siruthaigal was independent.

The DMK itself is a supporter of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause, though it may not openly espouse it.

But the AIADMK and its leader Jayalalithaa were completely anti-LTTE. The AIADMK camp had no open Sri Lankan Tamil supporters.

Jayalalithaa had even jailed Vaiko under a harsh anti-terror act for making a speech in support of the LTTE.

But now there is a radical change.

Thirumavalavan of the Viduthalai Siruthaigal was the first pro-LTTE leader to join the AIADMK camp.

A radical Dalit leader, he had visited the LTTE-held territory in the Wanni in Sri Lanka twice, and met top rebel leaders there.

According to the Tamil daily Sudar Oli Thirumavalavan is of the view that there should be an organisation similar to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu to ensure the protection of the Tamils and the Tamil language.

Commenting on the changes in Tamil Nadu on Saturday, Sudar Oli noted with satisfaction that both Vaiko and Thirumavalavan had declared that joining the AIADMK alliance would not lead to the dilution of their support for the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils in any way.

Sudar Oli also noted that Jayalalithaa herself had changed her stance on the Sri Lankan Tamils prior to Vaiko's defection.

She had avoided meeting the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa when the latter was in India recently on an official visit.

Political observers said that the avoidance was meant to appease the rising pro-Sri Lankan Tamil sentiment in Tamil Nadu after Rajapaksa came to power in Colombo.

Rajapaksa is seen in Tamil Nadu as a Sinhala-majoritarian leader who is against the concept of federalism, which the Sri Lankan Tamils have been demanding for the past 50 years.

Jayalalithaa was also eyeing the pro-Sri Lankan Tamil constituency, which could give her a helping hand in the assembly elections in May.

According to SudarOli the Tamil Nadu electoral battle is evenly poised. But no matter who wins, the interest of the Sri Lankan Tamils or the LTTE will not suffer, it adds.

With both Chennai and New Delhi thus reined in, the Sri Lankan Tamils and the LTTE have not had it so good, for a long, long time.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 16:38 IST