TMVP poster near Trinco. Or an advert for a dinner dance.
I hear from the indomitable Jeyaraj that Pillayan is breaking from Mahinda’s government. The story of these two former LTTE fighters is very interesting, and somewhat informative. The former child soldier Pillayan has turned out to be somewhat principled, while Karuna turned out to be more interested in partying and perks. Mahinda rewarded the latter, but now the former is pushing back.
Someone I know visited Pillayan and had a chat. She said that he was intelligent, thoughtful and very vocal about wanting more power for his province (and feeling a bit gyped). However, I also heard from a Batticaloa MP who said she felt threatened by him and the TMVP (YouTube).
All I’ve heard about Karuna is that he’s been sighted at nightclubs in the TransAsia and Bentota and that his girlfriend was hanging around various ministries, in some capacity or another. His wife is in London, calling him a betrayer of the Tamil people.
Based on the little information I have, it does seem like Karuna is looking out for himself (and a good time) while Pillayan seems more serious about governing. For one thing, he’s breaking from the Mahinda government at a time when there are significant risks, on a matter of principle. The principle of power I guess, but not necessarily personal. I think he is sincerely demanding more power at the provincial level, as per the Constitution.
I’ve never quite forgiven Karuna for his involvement in slaying over 600 policemen who had surrendered. I don’t know what Pillayan was involved in during his time in the LTTE, and I don’t know the character of the TMVP today. It does seem, however, that Pillayan is serious about representing the the Eastern Province while Karuna is mainly interested in perks.
The flunkies around Mahinda tend to survive unscathed while everyone else gets, well, scathed, but it is cool that Pillayan is taking a stand, for something. As far as I can tell Karuna is just standing at the bar.