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How representative of the Tamil people is the Illankai Arasu Katchi/TNA?

With the present efforts to bring electoral changes under the 20th amendment it is noteworthy to question on what grounds the ITAK is complaining on the grounds that as a minority party they are not given sufficient rights. As per population statistics the Tamil population of Sri Lanka stands at 2.2million though these figures are questioned as to whether these numbers are physically living in Sri Lanka or whether they are simply registered. Nevertheless, a breakdown of Tamil votes at every parliamentary elections since 1956 to 2010 will reveal that ITAK or TNA are really not the representative of the Tamil people though they project themselves to be so. The numbers show a very different version and this next questions what right does the TNA or ITAK have to whine about minority rights when it is not even representing the Tamils of Sri Lanka!

 

  • In 1956 the population of both SL Tamils & Indian Tamils as per 1953 population = 1,858,800 (in fact there were more Indian Tamils than Sri Lankan Tamils) however ITAK contesting 13 districts got only 142,758 votes . Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In 1960 since the same statistics of 1953 census was applicable ITAK contesting 18 districts polled only 176,444. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In 1965 the population of both SL Tamils and Indian Tamils as per 1963 census = 1,164,701 / ITAK contested 20 districts and polled 217,914. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In 1960 March elections since the same statistics of 1953 census was applicable ITAK contested 18 districts polled only 176,444. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In 1960 July elections keeping the 1953 census of both SL Tamils and Indian Tamils as 1,858,800 the ITAK contested 16 districts and polled 213,733. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In 1965 elections the population of both SL Tamils and Indian Tamils as per 1963 census = 2,287,700 / ITAK contested 20 districts and polled 217,914. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • 1n the 1970 elections taking the census of 1971 both SL Tamils and Indian Tamils = 2,598,587 / ITAK contested 19 districts and won 245,727 votes. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people when the Tamil population was 2.5million?

 

  • In the 1977 elections keeping the SL Tamil & Indian Tamil population statistics of 1971 as 2,598,587 / TULF contested for the 1st time as a single party and polled 399,043 from 23 districts (with the reality that the 1977 Tamil population was far more than the 1971 statistics taken and given that TULF contested 23 districts to get 399,043. Questions how representative of the Tamil people the TULF actually was ? it is because of the warped electoral system that without having the people’s vote TULF ended up getting 18 seats in Parliament!

 

  • In the 1989 Parliamentary elections taking the 1981 census of both SL Tamils and Indian Tamils = 2,705,528 / TULF contested 4 districts and secured 188,594 votes. Does this figure represent ITAK as the voice of the Tamil people?

 

  • In the 1994 parliamentary elections (there was no census since 1981) TULF contested 2 districts and polled 132,461 votes and the population of both SL & Indian Tamils would have been more than 2.7million yet why did they contest only 2 districts if they were so popular amongst Tamils?

 

  • In the 2000 Parliamentary elections despite no census since 1981 TULF contested 4 districts and won 106,033 (polling less than the 2 districts they won in 1994).

 

  • In the 2001 elections in came TNA formed by the LTTE comprising TULF, TELO, ACTC and EPRLF and contested 6 districts polling 348,164.

 

  • In the 2004 Parliamentary elections TNA contested 5 districts and won 633,654 votes. 5000 LTTE ‘volunteers’ were used to ensure TNA won! It should be curious why no sooner LTTE chose to use TNA as its political arm the votes started to surge! EU Election Observation Mission Chief John Cushnahan in his EU report on 17 June 2004 clearly established LTTE-TNA links “Firstly, the LTTE intended that no other rival Tamil party (or Tamil candidate from the mainstream political alliances) to the TNA would be able to claim to represent Tamil interests. A chilling message to this effect was sent early in the campaign when a UNP candidate and an EPDP activist were murdered. Incidents such as this seriously restricted the right of the parties other than the TNA to campaign freely in the Northern and Eastern Districts. During the 2004 elections, the major incidents of violence was perpetrated by the LTTE, whereas at the earlier elections; the primary source of the violence (although not all), were the two largest political parties.”

 

  • In the 2010 Parliamentary elections TNA contested 5 districts and won 233,190 votes

 

 

Year / Type of election Results of ITAK
1956 Parliamentary Elections

 

Population of 1953 :

Sinhalese = 5,616,500 / 69.36%

SL Tamils = 884,700 / 10.93%

Indian Tamils = 974,100 / 12.03%

Moors = 464,00 / 5.73%

Malays = 25,400 / 0.31%

 

5.39% of the popular vote and 10 out of 95 seats in the SL Parliament

 

Votes from 13 districts = 142,758

Voter turnout 69.1%

Total Valid votes = 2,391,538

1960 Parliamentary Elections (March)

 

Population of 1953 :

Sinhalese = 5,616,500 / 69.36%

SL Tamils = 884,700 / 10.93%

Indian Tamils = 974,100 / 12.03%

Moors = 464,00 / 5.73%

Malays = 25,400 / 0.31%

 

Parliamentary Elections were held again in July 1960

 

 

 

ITAK won 5.80% of the popular vote and 15 out of 151 seats in the SL Parliament

 

 

Votes from 18 districts = 176,444

Total Valid votes = 3,041,420

 

 

 

ITAK secured 213,733 / 6.95% vote and 16 seats in 151 Parliament

Total Valid votes = 3,724,507

 

1965 Parliamentary Elections

 

Population of 1963 :

Sinhalese = 7,512,900 / 71.00%

SL Tamils = 1,164,700 / 11.01%

Indian Tamils = 1,123,000 / 10.61%

Moors = 626,800 / 5.92%

Malays = 33,400 / 0.32%

 

ITAK won 5.38% of the popular vote and 14 out of 151 seats in the SL Parliament

 

votes from 20 districts = 217,914 

Total Valid votes = 4,046,720

Voter turn out = 81.13%

1970 Parliamentary Elections

 

Population of 1971 :

Sinhalese = 9.131,241 / 71.96%

SL Tamils = 1,423,981 / 11.22%

Indian Tamils = 1,174,606 / 9.26%

Moors = 855,724 / 6.74%

Malays = 43,459 / 0.34%

 

4.92% of the popular vote and 13 out of 151 seats in the SL Parliament

 

Votes from 19 districts = 245,727

Total valid votes = 4,991,798

1977 Parliamentary Elections

 

Population of 1971 :

Sinhalese = 9.131,241 / 71.96%

SL Tamils = 1,423,981 / 11.22%

Indian Tamils = 1,174,606 / 9.26%

Moors = 855,724 / 6.74%

Malays = 43,459 / 0.34%

 

ITAK did not contest. TULF contested as a single party and won 6.40% of the popular vote and 18 out of 168 seats in the SL Parliament (14 in North Province)

 

Votes from 23 districts = 399,043

Total valid votes = 6,243,573

 

Parliamentary elections should have been held in 1983 instead UNP’s JR Jayawardena held a Referendum in 1982
 

1989 Parliamentary Elections

 

Population of 1981 :

Sinhalese = 10,979,561 / 73.95%

SL Tamils = 1,886,872 / 12.71%

Indian Tamils = 818,656 / 5.51%

Moors = 1,046,926 / 7.05%

Malays = 46,963 / 0.32%

 

 

TULF contested alongside ENDLF, EPRLF, TELO,

Secured 3.4% of the popular vote and 10 out of 225 seat Parliament

 

Votes from 4 districts = 188,594

 

 

 

 

1994 Parliamentary Elections

 

No census since 1981

 

 

TULF won 1.60% of the popular vote and 5 out of 225 seat Parliament (1 national seat to Neelan Tiruchelvan killed by LTTE on 29 Jul 1999)

 

Votes from 2 districts = 132,461

2000 Parliamentary Elections

 

No census since 1981

 

TULF won 1.23% of the popular vote and 5 out of 225 seat Parliament

 

Votes from 4 districts = 106,033

 

2001 Parliamentary Elections

 

No census since 1981

 

 

TNA (comprising TULF, TELO, ACTC, EPRLF) contested and won 3.88% of the popular vote and 15 out of 225 seat Parliament.

 

Votes from 6 districts = 348,164

 

2004 Parliamentary Elections

 

No census since 1981

 

 

 

TNA (comprising ITAK, ACTC, TELO, EPRLF) won 6.84% of the popular vote and 22 out of 225 seat Parliament

 

Votes from 5 districts = 633,654

 

2010 Parliamentary Elections

 

 

TNA (comprising ITAK, EPRLF, TELO) won 2.9% of the popular vote and 14 out of 225 seat Parliament

 

Votes from 5 districts = 233,190

 

These figures are clear and should make locals and the West/IC realize that the voice of the Tamil people is not the TNA or ITAK or EPRLF or TULF and it is most certainly not the LTTE Diaspora.

 

Taking the Tamil population statistics and the votes that ITAK and TNA have secured it is easy to now dismiss these representatives of blowing their own importance and trying to project themselves as the voice of all Tamils when they are clearly not.

 

A minority party such as the TNA saddled with a past linked to LTTE must be investigated first and not be given opportunity to steer Tamils towards dividing Sri Lanka.

 

 Shenali D Waduge



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