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EPRLF to contest local polls on its own

The Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) said this week it would not contest the upcoming local polls in Sri Lanka under the 'house' symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, but would remain within the Tamil National Alliance coalition

The 'house' symbol, though belonging to ITAK, is used by the TNA at elections. 

At a press conference at the Jaffna Press Club, the EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran explained the decision and criticised the ITAK's dominance within the TNA. 

"The Tamil National Alliance was created in 2002. In the Tamil National Alliance which was created in 2002, there were 4 constituent parties. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and  All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) came together and created the TNA," Mr Premachandran said. 

"In the creation of the TNA the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam played a great a part. Moreoever, even the name 'Tamil National Alliance' as a name was bestowed upon it by the LTTE. Later, due to the disagreements that occurred within the Tamil National Alliance, the  All Ceylon Tamil Congress left it, and so did the Tamil United Liberation Front. It was after this that the Ilankai Tamil Arasu KAtchi joined, as did the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP). Therefore, from the very beginning it is the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) who have remained in the party."

"Those who came part way, without knowing the history, are sometimes telling a new story that at the beginning there were only three parties - TELO, TULF and ACTC. No one should try to hide the past," he added. 

"Not only did the EPRLF play an influential role in the creation of the TNA, I was one of the four people who added by signature to the formation of the coalition. It is wrong that those who have come to politics recently are trying to speak having either forgotten or concealing history, as if the Tamil people would have forgotten everything."

"Those who now say that the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi is the mother party and the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi is the biggest party need to understand one thing - that the ITAK only joined the alliance after the TULF left it. If people like Sumanthiran understood this, he would put forward incorrect statements."

"As someone who was there from the beginning of the Tamil National Alliance - the TNA had some principles from then till now: crucially the merger of the North-East was stated as a very important issue [and] similarly, the creation of a constitution with a federal structure, and through this the devolution of the power, where the Tamil people's sovereignty and the right to self determination is accepted within it; the North-East is the Tamil people's homeland; the North-East should be a federal unit for Tamil people speaking who are Muslim, Christian and Hindu. These were some of the fundamental principles that were accepted by everyone."

"The situation today is where the leadership of the ITAK is introducing itself to everyone as the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance."

"As you all know there is no organisational structure for the Tamil National Alliance. Apart from electing a leader, to this day there is no central committee, executive committee, treasurer or secretary. The ITAK has been adamant and determined that such things cannot be created. Even when journalists like yourselves had asked them they said registering was not needed and registering was not possible. They were clear that it can only be as a coalition of parties, not in the form of an organisation."