A relative of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has entered the fray for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election to be held in August 17 to challenge former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
MK Shivajilingam, a leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), filed his nomination on July 13. Mr Sivajilinagm said he is not contesting as TELO or as part of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), but as an Independent.
He has put up a list of candidates as an “Independent Group”. “I have filed nomination to contest as an independent group from Kurunegala. I aim to challenge the former President”, he said.
Mr Shivajilingam is a distant relative of Prabakaran. He was a parliamentarian between 2001 and 2004 having been elected from the north.
It was Mr Shivajilinagm who took over the body of Prabakaran’s mother when she passed away in 2011 who was under government care since her son was killed in the final battle which ended in 2009.
During his regime, Mr Rajapaksa had led the government troops to victory ending over three decades violent struggle by LTTE’s to create a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the country.
The former strongman has left his native Hambantota district for Kurunegala – the third largest electoral district in the island with 1.2 million voters – for the first time since he entered politics in 1970.
Kurunegala has significant voter base of soldiers, among whom Mr Rajapaksa enjoys quite a popularity for leading the victorious military campaign against the LTTE.
Mr Rajapaksa, the hero of the Sinhala majority for crushing the Tamil Tigers, was defeated in the January 8 presidential election by Maithripalla Sirisena.
None of his predecessors have stood for parliament after their terms as the executive president.