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Jan 25, 2010 at 09:57am IST

Lankan Tamils not sure who to vote for

Jaffna: Jaffna, the birthplace of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), will soon vote for Sri Lanka's next president.

Jaffna's fishermen are back at sea and the fish markets are loud and noisy once again.

The regular market works as if nothing ever happened in Jaffna town. The birthplace of the LTTE seems to be back to normal eight months after the Tigers were eliminated.

But beneath the daily life the hangover from the war is evident. Houses still bear the bullet marks from the past and the Sri Lankan army's presence is conspicuous.

It's far more relaxed after the war, but there are still high security zones.

Amidst all this Jaffna prepares to vote for the next Sri Lankan president.

At an election rally, one of the first few in this town, the Tamil National Alliance, once the political voice of the LTTE, now asks people to support former Sri Lankan Army chief General Sarath Fonseka, the man who led the army to defeat the Tigers.

"General Sarath Fonseka was lot more forthcoming and promising and we are confident it will help the Tamils," says Tamil National Alliance leader V Sambanthan.

The other main Tamil leader here is Douglas Devananda. He's been anti LTTE and is a minister in President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government.

"The President in his manifesto has promised what we are asking for. He will implement the 13th Amendment and will implement and improve Tamil plight," says Devananda.

Till the LTTE was active, their call was considered the ultimate political decision partly because of the fear to disobey their diktat.

But today Tamils like Kandeeban are confused on who to trust and who to choose as their political voice.

"There is a sense of confusion. People will have to decide who will represent the cause of the Tamils," says Kandeeban.

As the Tamils in Sri Lanka prepare to vote for the first time since the end of the LTTE their vote is perhaps an expression of whether they endorse what happened over the last two years and who in the Tamil leadership do they believe will espouse the cause of the Tamils.

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