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Monday August 26th happens to be the 70th birth anniversary of one-time leader of the opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam. The enfant terrible of the Federal Party who metamorphosed into the elder statesman of the Tamil United Liberation Front strode across the Tamil political horizon for more than thirty years. A lifetime of toil and service to his community was cut short in 1989 July when he fell victim to bullets fired by LTTE operatives in Colombo.

Amir or "Amir Anna" as he was known to his younger followers was born in Pannagam, Vaddukkoddai in 1927. He was of middle class origin and received most of his schooling at Victoria College, Chulipuram. He later entered University and then the law college passing out as an advocate. He was attracted towards Trotskyite politics in his undergraduate days and was for a short time a devout disciple of Dr. N. M. Perera.. He was initially involved with the Tamil Congress but cut his teeth in politics as a member of the newly formed Federal Party. He accepted the ascetic S.J.V Chelvanayagam as his political leader and therefore folowed him as a trusted lieutenant.

He contested the Vaddukkoddai seat as a Federal Party candidate unsucessfully in 1952. In 1956 he won Vaddukkoddai and held the same seat continuously through the March 1960 July 1960, and March 1965 elections. In 1970 may he was toppled by former school principal A. Thiyagarajah of the Tamil Congress. After seven years Amirthalingam returned triumphantly to parliament with a thumping majority in 1977.Only this time he contested the Kankesanthurai constituency which had been represented earlier by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam.
A Tribute to Mrs.Amirthalingam
A.Amirthalingam's 80th Birthday Anniversary
(26th Aug - 1927)
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