Tamil Diplomat

What is wrong in me keeping neutral?: Full text of Wigneswaran’s reply to Sumanthiran

Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran on Tuesday had dismissed TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran’s threat to sack him from the Tamil National Alliance and accused party leader R Sampanthan and Mr Sumanthiran of wanting to be in the good books of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, ignoring the Tamils’ demands such as the demilitarisation of the Northern Province.

“Sumanthiran is attempting to make me the scapegoat in his grief of losing the honour in the party so far” the CM said.

Mr Wigneswaran said he was able to remain “neutral” with regards to party politics as he was not a member of any of the political parties that make up the TNA.

Following is the full text of the translated version of Wigneswaran’s statement:

Reply to the Accusations of Hon. Sumanthiran

We and the Genocide

My dear student Sumanthiran had been placing several accusations in recent times. Time has ripe to answer to all of them. First he criticized the Genocide Resolution of the NPC. To say the truth, when Sumanthiran was asked to draft the Genocide Resolution, he did not refuse. But after the Presidential Election he went abroad without saying anything, I think. He could not be contacted. Hence I had to bear the duty of drafting the Resolution at the last moment. When the Resolution was published, he welcomed it first but later he said that, that type resolution is a wrong one. He said that nobody could be convicted legally through the Resolution, and hence the Resolution will not be implemented.

When people’s problems came before him he, who is an Attorney at Law, would have told that no case could be filed for them or the evidences are not enough. That does not mean, that no evil had been done to the affected people or no affectation happened to them or they had not been grieved. Our Resolution is Resolution reflecting what happened in this country, up to date.

That Resolution is one, which Reflects what and what had been accepted as Genocide by the Genocide Law had occurred in our country. That is a social document. What action could be taken had to be decided by the Secretary of the UN.

The Truth and Reconciliation

Hon. Sumanthiran did not like the Resolution being submitted this year after January 8th. But the necessity to submit the Resolution rose only after January 8th. It is this Government, which was elected by us, which is speaking about Reconciliation. Only a Truth and Reconciliation related Commission was appointed in South Africa. You can achieve Reconciliation only if you know the Truth. How will the Reconciliation be created without knowing the Truth. Our Resolution did not tell the Truth exclusively to the world. It also told the Truth to the people of Sri Lanka. The next step towards Reconciliation could be taken only if the people, especially the Sinhala people get to know the Truth and accept it. If the Leaders of the Sinhala people say that nothing in it had ever happened how are we going to create Reconciliation? Hence, the Genocide Resolution of the NPC is one which may anger Hon. Ranil Wickremasinshe and other people who have close relationship with him, the contents of the Resolution, pointed out the unanimous opinion of all of our members. They pointed out the Truth.

CM post is a selection of the TNA

Next accusation was that only his party brought me to politics, and only the party gave me the responsibility of administering the NPC, he had said. This is wrong. TNA is an alliance of several constituent parties. It was not a registered party. When several people invited me into politics, I told them that if all the parties get together and invite me, I shall consider their request. They accepted the position that all party leaders should propose me as the CM. That is to say that the ITAK and other party leaders jointly took the said decision. The Election was held on that basis. More than 1,33,000 majority votes were polled. That is how I got NPC CM post. I accepted it. As Hon. Sumanthiran say, his party did not called me and said that they will give this post to me. They did not offer me this post under the condition that I should be loyal to their party. Hence the second accusation of Hon. Sumanthiran is a baseless one.  

General Election and fund raising

The next accusation was that I did not act in favour of the party in the Parliamentary General Elections. Only If I am a practical member of any party, that party could control me. TNA is an unregistered party. Neither the ITAK nor any other party invited me to their meetings. Nor I attended any meeting. I was invited for a meeting in Trincomalee. I went there. As far as I am concerned, the Northern people, the people who voted for me in their numbers, are my party. Their welfare is the objective of my party. Hence rather than saying that the party gave me the post, the truth is that the people handed over to me the responsibility. You cannot compare the party giving me the post on my request and the Party asking me to contest, and I getting a post by getting the votes from the people.

Next is the accusation about not going to Canada. It is a truth that when many of them requested me I had a pain in the knee. It is also true that our doctors treated me and gradually relieved me from that. It is another truth that, later I felt well and went to America. In America I had to attend several matters. At the same time, it was also a truth that, I was obliged to go to England on the request of my only surviving sister in England, to visit her there. It is true that I refused to go to Canada. I was afflicted with body pains when I was in America. Hence, travelling to Canada   would have given me discomfort. Further, if funds should be collected for Parliamentary election, then the parliament candidates who are to spend it must go, ask and get it from Canadian people. How can I who belong to the NPC, ask for it ? I don’t know why Hon. Sumanthiran showed interest in sending me there, leaving aside, those who will spend it, people who are going to account for it and who are going to bring the money to Sri Lanka. To say the truth, if the Canadian People could have excluded me, who had unanimously passed the useless Genocide resolution, as he had said, inviting me to travel to Canada should be also considered as a wrong act.

Statements during Election time

The next accusation was that I had issued statements against the party. I have not issued any statements against the party at any time. As a non-party man, there is nothing wrong in remaining neutral. In a context where the enthusiasts of five or four constituent parties of TNA were competing among themselves, how could I have discriminately ask vote for a particular person?

If that is so a question rises here as to why I didn’t ask to vote for TNA. Here we should take some matters into consideration.

On January 08th the President’s election was held. The very next day Ranil was appointed Prime Minister. The next day I accompanied Hon.Sampanthan, and Hon. Sampanthan, to the house of Hon. Malik Samarawickrema at Buller’s Lane in Colombo and met Ranil and congratulated him. At that time, even JVPers came there and shook his hand.

Removal of Army from the North

As we were leaving from there, Hon. Ranil looked at me and said,“ I am going to tell the Mahanayake Thero  that, No army men will be removed from the North.” Hon.Sampanthan and Hon. Sumanthiran were nearby. I did not want to say anything at that time. I just laughed and returned from there. The meaning of Ranil’s statement was discernable to me. That is. “As far as the Army is concerned, although I have told you earlier that I will help the Tamil People, I am going to tell the contrary to the Mahanayake.”. That is, I, who had shown one face to the Tamils, am going to show another of my faces to Mahanayake is the inner meaning of his statement.

I did not care for anymore. But when his relative Hon. Ruwan Wijeyawardene came to North and said the same thing very clearly among the Army men, I gave a reply to that. I told him that, Hon. Ranil had already told this opinion. Earlier the UNP was called Uncle Nephew Party. Likewise the nephew had come and told what Uncle had told, I said to him. Later, Hon. Ruwan wijeyawardene told me that, although there is a several years of age difference, in truth he is a cousin of Hon. Ranil. Hon. Ruwan did not mind myself criticizing his statement.

Hon. Ranil and our people

When Ranil was asked in India by a television Network, whether he told the CM like this about the Army, he had said that he had neither met me nor spoken to me. Apart from that he had told, “Wigneswaran is a liar.” Neither Hon. Sampanthan nor Hon. Sumanthiran who were with me at that time, did not come forward to tell what the truth is. They kept mum. After two three days, I said, “ It is immaterial whether I am a liar or not. Let Hon. Ranil say that he will remove the Army stage by stage under some scheme from the North. The next moment I will shake hands with him. For all these, Hon. Sumanthiran who is saying that I have not acted in favour of the Party, uttered even one word in favour of me? I am needed for fund raising. In a situation where I am also needed for bearing blame, but the closeness of Hon. Ranil is more important to them, not the relationship with a member, what is wrong in me keeping neutral.

Election Manifesto of the Party was  Sumanthiran’s

Further, before the recent Parliamentary elections, Hon. Sumanthiran sent the draft of the TNA Election Manifesto to me and requested me to discuss the manifesto with my Ministers and to intimate the opinions to him. But right on the following day he completely excluded us and published his draft saying “this is our manifesto.” In this context, what is wrong in me keeping Neutral?

After Hon. Sumanthiran went to UK, and issued autocratic statements regarding re-settlements, without consulting the NPC and without respecting them, what is wrong in me keeping neutral?

Autocratic selection of candidates

When the NPC was constituted, I selected my Ministers, considering their skills, experience, qualifications and keeping in mind certain constraints rising from political backgrounds. 

Just before the Parliamentary Elections, candidates were selected in an autocratic way without considering the qualifications of the candidates, the post war needs and priorities of the voters, without consulting the NPC on the basis of their 2 years’ experience, on whom and whom had to be selected, even for just the custom’s sake.  In this context, what is wrong in me keeping neutral?

Political Solution – a profound secret!

Hon. Sumanthiran autocratically engaged in negotiations with Government representatives on the future of Tamil people and political solution without consulting the NPC. No discussion was held regarding that, up to now. What is wrong in me keeping neutral when he acts autocratically like this?

The Minister of Local Government I had to deactivate certain corrupt Local Government bodies. I had to take action against a Pradeshiya Saba Chairman who had assaulted the Secretary. Such incidents happened because of wrong candidates being made to contest in elections. Qualification, virtue, knowledge and honesty should not be just empty words. We should nominate those with qualifications. If that is so, what is wrong in me asking to elect such candidates?

His Excellency President Sirisena also kept neutral during the election contested by his alliance of several constituent parties. What is wrong in that?

When the reporters asked me repeatedly why I am keeping neutral, I said that “I am dump” without wanting to say these things.

The next accusations was that two of my statements clearly indicated an alternate party.

If asking to elect good people, able people and honest people is indicating an alternate party, is Hon.Sumanthiran saying that, there are no good, able and honest people in our alliance?

The Parliament Election and us

May be, saying to go and vote early without being abided to the house means what he had indicated by his own interpretation, the truth is that I had no such notion at the time of issuing those statements. If I had that notion, how would I have said? I should have told, ‘go away from your house, ride your bicycle and vote. It is not worthy of Hon. Sumanthiran,   recalcitrant in saying  that only what he say is truth and what I say is not the truth.

On July 17th, I was invited jointly to harrow by several factions. My interview was filmed and shown in several countries. My reply to the question whether I would support an alternate party, my categorical answer was that I have no need to support any party other than TNA. To date I am remaining in that position. If the leadership of the party upholds that what they thinks is correct and if we cannot acceptable that position, it does not mean that our opinion excluded the party. It may also happen that, if the leadership place some matter to the arbitration of their supporters and enthusiasts, and they deciding that the opinion of the leadership is wrong. Saying to elect good, able and honest candidate could never be considered as an opinion unfavourable to the party. It should be considered as an exercise of strengthening the party.

Only Inner Party Democracy could lead the Party in the path to growth

Generally I have several opinions about political parties. A party should reflect the opinions of its members. Some opinions may rejected by majority vote. But a party should conduct itself being aware of the opinions of its members. If the leadership tries to act autocratically, it will be detrimental to the Party. The leadership has a duty to consult the Provincial Council members before issuing out opinions about the Northern Province.

It is an unwelcome act to providing party based opinions to the NPC staff, excluding the Northern Province people’s representatives regarding staff appointments of the NPC. I have been informing these things to the party leader in writing as from last April. He had also replied one letter. Further, in my letter congratulating him, on his election as the Leader of the Opposition, I have expressed my opinion that, the MPs and the Members of Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils should get together and do what is necessary to provide requirements of the people who had voted and elected us. I am still awaiting answers from him.

Hence it heart breaking that Hon. Sumanthiran is attempting to make me the scapegoat in his grief of losing the honour in the party so far. But as an old student of mine, I pray that may God bless him forever.

Thank you. Vanakkam.

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran,

Chief Minister,

Northern Provincial Council. 


Following is the statement issued by TNA MP MA Sumanthiran, in response to  the above statement by CV Wigneswaran

No room for compromise on loyalty to Sampanthan and the TNA – Sumanthiran

Northern Province Chief Minister Mr C. V Wigneswaran issued a lengthy explanation yesterday in response to allegations that he acted against the Tamil National Alliance at the General Elections held in 2015. In this regard, I welcome his confirmation of incidents I have highlighted previously. The acceptability or otherwise of his explanations and his interpretations of his own conduct are matters to be decided by the party.  

Honourable Wigneswaran was specifically handpicked by the leader of the Tamil people Mr. Sampanthan to function as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. The people responded expressing overwhelming support for the leader Mr. Sampanthan’s choice. This support for him has been continually demonstrated at successive elections. There is a sacred bond between the Tamil people and their leader. Those who attempt to sever this bond have been rejected by the people in the past, and they will continue to be rejected by the people. Each of us is duty bound to act loyally towards the party and its leader. As far as I am concerned, there is no room whatsoever for compromise with respect to the need for loyalty. I affirm that my actions in relation to party affairs will continue to manifest this unequivocal position.  

We are all also bound by a duty to overcome efforts to divide the TNA and work constructively in the interests of our people and towards their liberation. In this regard, it is essential that the Northern Provincial Council which is controlled by the TNA functions effectively. We assumed control of the Province’s administration because of the importance of using the existing powers and resources made available to the Provincial Council in the interests of the people, even as we attempt to overcome the weaknesses of the Provincial Council system and make power sharing more meaningful. I reaffirm my willingness to fully support any person functioning as Chief Minister on behalf of the TNA, just as I assisted Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Provincial administration on his request when the TNA took over the Provincial Council.  

The Tamil National Alliance cannot shirk its responsibility to utilize the opportunity that presents itself today to work for the benefit and freedom of our people with sobriety and wisdom so as to pass the necessary statutes in the Provincial Council; accept and utilize the support already forthcoming from the international community; and transform the provincial administration to efficiently address the needs of the people with respect to fisheries, farming, healthcare, education, livelihoods, technological advancement and development centred on raising living standards.  

I trust the incumbent Chief Minister Wigneswaran will accept and utilize my continuing offer of assistance at this juncture.  

M A Sumanthiran