Boycott The Presidential Election Or Put Forward A Common Tamil Candidate?

By C.V. Wigneswaran –

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP

Someone asked me; You have said that a Common Tamil Candidate should be put forward by the Tamils for the Presidential Election. Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has said the Tamils must boycott the Presidential Election. What have you to say?

My response was; As usual his view is non pragmatic! When the Tigers were there, they were able to oversee the success of a boycott. Now the Military is ubiquitous in the North and East. How would Gajan ensure the success of a boycott?

Furthermore, the Local Parties close to the Sinhala National Parties cannot be stopped from going to vote. Is Gajan wanting to ensure support to a Sinhala Candidate by suggesting a boycott?

Already at the last General Election it was said many wrongs were committed in the counting of votes in the Jaffna District.  

If a boycott is in place what cannot be done? While the voters remain at home their votes would be cast.

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A boycott will not ensure any discussion on the problems of the Tamils during Elections. The Newspapers would simply say there was a poor turn out of voters at the most or if sufficient homework be done by the Parties close to the Centre including its Military, the papers would say there was a fair turnout of voters despite the boycotting Tamils staying at home.

On the other hand a Common Candidate knowing all three languages like Mr. Ponnambalam could do yeoman services to the Tamils. The impersonation among the voters could be minimised. Active voter participation could be ensured and indeed precipitated. While platforms would be made available for the airing of the trials and tribulations of the Tamils, greater understanding of our political position among the voter population could be ensured. 

One of the main benefits of a Common Candidate knowing all three languages participating in the Presidential Election would be the utilisation of the TV time given to each Candidate. Today none of the Sinhala language papers or media, air the problems or views of the Tamils, especially those of the North and East. Even the English papers are very stingy in reporting about our problems.

The TV time provided for each of the Presidential Candidates could be utilised by the Tamil Common Candidate to educate the Sinhalese and others of our problems. Even the International Community including the Diplomatic Missions here could be told of the ground situation in the North and East.

Finally the Common Tamil Candidate might be able to prevent any single Sinhala Candidate getting 50% of the voter turnout. There may be many Sinhalese who may vote for the Tamil candidate in their preferential votes.

Hence it is my view that a Common Tamil Candidate should be put forward to articulate our problems to the world at large.

Lastly if Gajan wants to contest as a Common Tamil Candidate my vote would go to him! But I would want him to give one of the TV speeches in Sinhala to educate our Sinhala brethren about the problems of the Tamils.

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