Two top TNA politicos in power struggle | Sunday Observer

Two top TNA politicos in power struggle

Two leading politicians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are in a power struggle over the results of the preferential count in Jaffna.

The tussle between supporters of M. A. Sumanthiran and Sashikala Raviraj, who contested under the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) ticket, caused the Election Commission to temporarily halt the counting on Thursday morning. Later, the police and the STF were deployed to disperse the crowd outside the Jaffna Central College where the clash took place.

Raviraj accused Sumanthiran of rigging the vote counting during the recount.

Raviraj’s daughter tweeted on Facebook that her mother was ‘unofficially congratulated’ for coming second from the TNA in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts. However, when almost 90 percent of the final results were completed Sumanthiran who was ‘nowhere near fourth place suddenly made it to second place,’ she said.

M. A. Sumanthiran told a media briefing on Friday (7) that the allegations were strange.

“Counting is done at different locations and brought to the electoral district’s primary counting centre. Each counting booth has agents from all parties. The results are finalised only after their verification and agreement.

“When an agent brings his polling division’s result to the main counting centre, the preference order changes depending on who polled well in that particular division. This is quite normal and nothing is final until all results are in,” he said.

“In any case, our ballot counting is done in such a manner that there is absolutely no room for foul play. I do not wish to comment on the conduct of Mrs. Raviraj during this election campaign. She was our party’s female candidate. She was also a first-time contestant. It is regrettable that she has lost,” he said.

Election Commission media spokesperson Channa P de Silva told the Sunday Observer that there is no room to manipulate the final count of votes.

“When a candidate loses he or she can accuse another of stealing votes, just for self-satisfaction. There is no logic in these accusations,” he said adding that it is a fool-proof vote calculation that cannot be rigged.

The TNA as other parties, did not perform well at the August 5 election. It secured 10 seats this time, including one from the National List, compared to 16 seats it bagged last year, including two from the National List.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G L Peiris told a media briefing that this shows that the TNA has lost its opportunity to claim that it is the sole voice that represents the Tamil community.