Senathirajah was born on 27 October 1942.[1][2] He was educated Veemanramam School and Nadeswara College.[2] After school he joined the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya as an external student and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.[2]

Senathirajah got involved in the Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism movement at a young age and took part in the 1961 satyagraha.[2] He joined the youth wing of Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), the Tamil Youth League, in 1962.[2] He was secretary of the Eela Thamil Elanger Eyakam (Eelam Tamil Youth Movement) from 1966 to 1969.[2] He was arrested on several occasions between 1969 and 1983 and spent seven years imprisoned at eight different prisons.[2] He became secretary of the Tamil Youth Front, the youth wing the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), in 1972.[2]

Senathirajah was one of the ENDLF/EPRLF/TELO/TULF alliance’s candidates in Jaffna District at the 1989 parliamentary election but failed to get elected after coming 13th amongst the alliance candidates.[3][4] However, he entered Parliament in 1989 when he was appointed as a National List Member of Parliament for the TULF, replacing A. Amirthalingam who had been assassinated on 13 July 1989.[5] He re-entered Parliament in 1999 as a National List Member of Parliament for the TULF following the assassination of Neelan Tiruchelvam on 29 July 1999.[5][6]

Senathirajah was one of the TULF’s candidates in Jaffna District at the 2000 parliamentary election. He was elected and re-entered Parliament.[7] On 20 October 2001 the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization and TULF formed the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).[8][9] Senathirajah contested the 2001 parliamentary election as one of the TNA’s candidates in Jaffna District. He was elected and re-entered Parliament.[10] He was re-elected at the 2004, 2010 and 2015 parliamentary elections.[11][12][13][14][15]

Senathirajah was general-secretary of ITAK before being elected leader of ITAK 6 September 2014.[16][17] Senathirajah is one of a trio of MPs (the other two being R. Sampanthan and M. A. Sumanthiran) who lead the TNA.[18][19]

 

1.^ “Directory of Members: Mavai S. Senathirajah”. Parliament of Sri Lanka.
2.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h de Silva, W. P. P.; Ferdinando, T. C. L. 9th Parliament of Sri Lanka (PDF). Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. p. 306.
3.^ “Result of Parliamentary General Election 1989” (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
4.a b de Silva, W. P. P.; Ferdinando, T. C. L. 9th Parliament of Sri Lanka (PDF). Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. p. 182.
5. a b Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (20 November 2005). “Terror unleashed on Tiger supporters in North-East”. Transcurrents.
6.^ “Senathirajah – new TULF MP”. The Island (Sri Lanka). 15 August 1999.
7.a b “General Election 2000 Preferences” (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
8.^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. “Tamil National Alliance enters critical third phase – 1”. The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). Archived from the original on 4 April 2010.
9.^ “Tamil parties sign MOU”. TamilNet. 20 October 2001.
10. a b “General Election 2001 Preferences” (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
11. a b “General Election 2004 Preferences” (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
12. a b “Parliamentary General Election – 2010 Jaffna Preferences” (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
13.^ “PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Government Notifications PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ACT, No. 1 OF 1981” (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1928/03. 19 August 2015.
14.^ “Ranil tops with over 500,000 votes in Colombo”. The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 19 August 2015.
15.^ “Preferential Votes”. Daily News (Sri Lanka). 19 August 2015.
16.^ “Mavai elected as ITAK’s new leader”. The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 7 September 2014.
17.^ “Mavai replaces Sampanthan as ITAK leader”. Tamil Guardian. 6 September 2014.
18.^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (27 July 2013). “Wigneswaran, Senathirajah and the Facade of TNA Unity”. The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka).
19.^ Gammanpila, Udaya (4 August 2013). “TNA’s majoritism in minority politics”. Ceylon Today.
20.^ Jayakody, Pradeep (28 August 2015). “The Comparison of Preferential Votes in 2015 & 2010”. The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka).