UNP Muslims threaten to quit over 'SLMC deal'

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 October 2001, 18:18 GMT]
United National Party organisers in the Muslim dominated coastal electorates of the Ampara district Friday decided to contest as an independent group if their leadership in Colombo were to go ahead with its seat sharing arrangement with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. “Under the agreement that our party appears to have tacitly reached the only Muslims candidates on the UNP list in the Ampara (Digamadulla) Electorate would be members of the SLMC. We fought against great odds at the last elections to keep the UNP flag flying in the Muslim electorates of the Ampara district. But now our party is ready to jettison us to accommodate the SLMC candidates on its list here,” one of the chief Muslim organisers of the UNP told Tamilnet in Kalmunai Friday.

The UNP organisers in the coastal parts of the Ampara district gathered Friday afternoon in eastern town to discuss their future in view of the demand that the only Muslims on the list of UNP candidates should be members of the SLMC. Mr. M.A Rakheeb presided.

The UNP organisers resolved to contest as an independent group led by Mr. M. M (My Own) Mustapha if their alternative proposal were to be rejected by their party leadership. According to their counter proposal, My Own Mustapha and the lawyer, A.M.M Naushaad should be the main candidates on the UNP list for Ampara and that the SLMC should have two.

Each party and independent group contesting the elections in the Ampara district should nominate ten candidates to fight the polls. The counter proposal suggests that there should also be two Sinhalese and a Tamil candidate on the ‘list’. “The others could be anyone who can garner even a few votes to enhance our position at the polls,” a senior UNP organiser from Kalmunai said.

 

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