SLMC-PA tussle takes new turn

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 August 2000, 15:12 GMT]
The pre-poll tussle between Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance (PA) and its main ally took a new turn Monday when the general Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the general secretary of its popular front, the National Unity Alliance, resigned from their posts Monday.

Both officials who are senior politicians of the SLMC, declined to give any reason for their resignations but denied speculation that they had done so over conflict of opinion with the party leadership.

The People's Alliance is facing a crisis over the resignation of SLMC leader M.H.H Ashraff from the cabinet in protest over statements made by A.H.M Fowzie, a government minister and senior Muslim politician of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main constituent of the PA.

Mr.Rauff Hakeem was the general secretary of the SLMC and the Vice Chairman of Committees of the dissolved parliament.

Mr.M.L.A.M.Hisbullah, formerly Deputy Minister of Posts and Telecommunications and MP for Batticaloa, was the General Secretary of the National Unity Alliance, a popular front of the SLMC formed two years ago in a bid to give the party a national image, transcending its eastern province based Islamic roots.

Hakeem and Hisbullah forwarded their letters of resignation to the Politburo of the respective parties in accordance with the decision taken by their party leadership to strengthen the party during elections. They resigned to strengthen the party during election period and not to weaken it, SLMC sources said.

Mr.Rauff Hakeem will be the chief candidate for the Kandy electoral district and Mr.M.L.A.M.Hisbullah will be given the first place in the Batticaloa electoral district if the SLMC fails to reach an understanding with the Peoples Alliance on the return of Mr.Ashraff from Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Mr.Ashraff is expected to return on Tuesday early morning after a pilgrimage.


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