TMNF was formed because TNA failed to deliver the goods – Suresh K. Premachandran | Sunday Observer

TMNF was formed because TNA failed to deliver the goods – Suresh K. Premachandran

New coalition Tamil Makkal National Front (TMNF), also known as Tamil People’s National Front hopes to ‘deliver goods’ that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) failed to give the Tamil community.

“People are already fed-up of the TNA. People need a change,” said leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Suresh K. Premachandran, who will be contesting under the banner of the TMNF at the forthcoming General Election.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. Why was the Tamil Makkal National Front (TMNF) formed when there was a main political formation representing the Tamil community in Parliament?

A. My party (the EPRLF) joined other members of Parliament and Ministers including former Northern Provincial Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran and formed the new front because the TNA has failed to deliver the goods. For the past four and a half years it worked with the United National Party and President Maithripala Sirisena who promised a new Constitution, but didn’t fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil people. TMNF, which will be contesting under the election symbol - fish, will fight for the rights of the Tamil people. The members of the TMNF are not new to politics.

We have worked with the TNA for a long time but it has forgotten the mandate of the Tamils. There are so many allegations against it. So, the Tamil people discussed the matter and said there was a need for a new front.

Q. What are the issues faced by people in the North and the East which former governments have failed to address?

A. There are many issues, mainly, the release of land that is still occupied by the military.

These are yet to be released to the owners. Then there is the issue of political prisoners. If the Government can give general amnesty to people such as Karuna Amman and ‘KP’ (Selvarasa Pathmanathan) who supplied arms to the LTTE why can’t they release other political prisoners?

There are mothers and wives who are still waiting for their children and husbands who went missing during the war against terrorism.

Some of these people surrendered to the Army, and there were others who were handed over to the Army in front of the public. But they have gone missing. The Government has failed to give them a proper response about these missing people.

Q. What are the key issues you are hoping to resolve following the General Election?

A. The Tamil national problem. For the past 30-40 years no government addressed this matter. This is a burning issue the Tamils are concerned about. A government needs to have the courage and willingness to address the national problem faced by the Tamil people.

Q. Are there any other issues?

A. Yes, then there needs to be job-oriented development in the North and the East. We need roads and railways, but we also need jobs for youth. No government has developed factories where the youth can go to work. Agriculture should be developed in these areas too.

Q.Will you work with the Government following the election?

A. That depends on several factors. Number one is who will be in power and number two is how they handle Tamil people’s problems. We will support a government which handles these problems well.

What we now see is that even within the Government there are different opinions when it comes to the aspirations of the Tamil community.

Q.You will have to contest in a very different environment to what you are used to. There will be health regulations that should be followed when campaigning. Will this affect you?

A. There are several problems this time because of Covid-19. We won’t be able to conduct campaigns in a proper manner.

We will have to abide by the health protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and the National Election Commission. This is a new trend.

This time it will difficult for all parties. People are already fed up with the TNA.

People need a change. Even with all these problems I am quite certain that we will get a few seats in Parliament.

This will give us the opportunity to give the Tamil people a voice in Parliament.