As Tamil politics in Sri Lanka totters on the brink of indecision that’s steadily leading it to irrelevance, the Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan was re-elected leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi at its 14th National Convention in the Eastern headquarter town of Batticaloa on Saturday. Maavai Senathirajah was elected party general secretary.

ITAK is the most important constituent of the TNA. The TNA is the lone credible voice of Tamils in the Northern Province.

The ITAK was forced to change its meeting venue at the last moment after the earlier place they had fixed, was suddenly and inexplicably engulfed in fire. One source in Batticaloa claimed that the place was fire-bombed. The meeting of the party was being held in an area that is at the heart of a turf war between two former Tamil Tigers – the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan (better known as Pillaiyan, who was once a child soldier) and Deputy Minister, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (better known as Col. Karuna Amman who was former Eastern Commander of the Tamil Tigers).

Mr. Pillaiyan’s party, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal, was not in favour of ITAK holding the convention in Batticaloa.

The meeting did go ahead, and all elections were held as per the Constitution of ITAK. Among the prominent names, E. Saravanabhavan, MP, who runs the Uthayan newspaper, was elected secretary (rehabilitation and resettlement) and Sivagnanam Sreetharan, MP, was elected secretary (propaganda). As expected, M.A. Sumanthiran MP, was elected secretary (Legal and Foreign Affairs).

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