Wigneswaran says TNA support to budget must be conditional

The next government budget is to be presented in parliament on November 5 with the final vote scheduled for December.The Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) vote would be key to the current unity government in passing the budget. The TNA support would be important in the midst of reported attempts by loyalists of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to defeat the budget in order to force the government to resign. Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran has said that the TNA party must make its support to the government’s 2019 budget conditional to the release of all Tamil political prisoners.Wigneswaran stated this at a political meeting held in Jaffna. While Tamil political activists and rights groups describe those held for LTTE-linked terrorist acts as political prisoners, the government maintains there are no such prisoners in the country.Responding to Wigneswaran’s stance, TNA spokesman M A Sumanthiran said that the release of all Tamil political prisoners has been a long held demand of the party. “We have to consider this and ask the party to take action,” he said. Wigneswaran said some Tamil youth have been imprisoned over the last 20 years for being aligned with the former LTTE militant group. But many LTTE leaders such as its former deputy leader Karuna are free, he said.

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