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Worldly-wise Vaiko

Tamil dailies in Sri Lanka have slammed the MDMK leader for joining an anti-LTTE alliance, writes PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 11:43 IST

The Sri Lankan Tamil press has slammed Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetera Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko for joining the "anti-LTTE" J Jayalalithaa-led alliance to fight the May 8 Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

Tamil dailies have described Vaiko's action as rank opportunism and as a betrayal of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Vaiko is known among Sri Lankans as a staunch and outspoken supporter of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran.

While the majority Sinhalas hate him for this, the minority Tamils love him.

Jayalalithaa, on the other hand, is known for her hard line on the LTTE. For this, she is liked by the Sinhalas and disliked by the Tamils.

Against this background, the island's Tamils were shocked when Vaiko broke away from the DMK-led alliance and joined the AIADMK-led alliance last week, only to get more seats for his party.

In an editorial on Monday, the popular daily Virakesari accused him of rank opportunism.

It recalled how he had taken a pledge to oust Jayalalithaa for putting him in prison under POTA for a pro-LTTE speech.

Virakesari said that there was a lesson in this for voters, both in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka: "Never give any credence to the declarations and promises of politicians", it said.

Politicians, the paper said, would fight and make up with each other as and when it suited them, without regard to ideology or their pledges to the people.

They would instigate their followers to indulge in various actions and would themselves stay away from trouble.

Virakesari went on to doubt Vaiko's sincerity in upholding the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

While noting that he had declared that he had not changed his stand on the Sri Lankan Tamil question even after jointing the Jayalalithaa camp, the paper said that only time would show if this promise would be kept.

The daily Thinakkural traced Vaiko's electoral history to show how opportunistic he had been. It pointed out that only very recently he had declared that the DMK-led alliance would beat Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi was the next Chief Minister.

Thinakkural wondered if the pro-Sri Lankan Tamil sentiment now rising in Tamil Nadu would be weakened with Vaiko and his ideological ally and Dalit leader, Thirumavalavan, now in the Jayalalithaa camp.

The daily Sudar Oli took a more optimistic view. In a box story on the alliance on Monday, the paper pointed out that Jayalalithaa herself was showing signs of shedding her hard line on the Sri Lankan Tamil question.

She had avoided seeing the visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa only to placate the pro-Sri Lankan Tamil sentiment in Tamil Nadu.

In this context, the coming of Vaiko and Thirumavalavan into her fold could, in fact, help increase the clout of the pro-Sri Lankan Tamil lobby in Tamil Nadu, Sudar Oli said.

What the paper meant was that the victory of Jayalalithaa in the coming elections might not be such a bad thing for the Sri Lankan Tamils because the government and the ruling coalition would be having pro-LTTE elements in them.

The DMK camp also a pro-LTTE element in the form of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) headed by Dr S Ramadoss.

On his part, the DMK leader, M Karunanidhi, has promised to take up the Sri Lankan issue with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at their next meeting.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 11:43 IST