Awaits Ranil’s reply to ‘request’
CWC keeps option open

by Franklin Satyapalan
CWC Leader Arumugam Thondaman on Friday said that Upcountry Tamil Alliance, which now includes M. S. Sellasamy as Vice President of the CWC, would keep its options on whether it would contest on the UNP ticket or go it alone open until Sunday.

He said that the CWC would make a final decision tomorrow, a day after UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to give his answer to what Mr. Thondaman refers to mysteriously as "the request". Asked what the request constituted, he refused to elaborate, but said that it pertains to the community. He however ruled out that it was the citizenship issue.

He said that the request had been put to Mr. Wickremesinghe at a meeting on Friday, to which Mr. Wickremesinghe had promised a reply by evening today. He added that the party was open to discussions, even with the PA.

"Our priority is the interest of the community," he said.

Meanwhile, the newly formed alliance also announced the coming together of all upcountry parties with the entry of former General Secretary of the Ceylon National Workers Congress M. S. Sellasamy as the Deputy President of the CWC. This ends the long standing feud between Mr. Sellasamy and the CWC, against whom he was involved in a seven year long litigation from the days of Arumugam Thondaman’s grand father Saumyamoorthy Thondaman.

The CWC leader was euphoric declaring that the coming together of the upcountry political factions boded well for the community. "We will go from strength to strength," he said. He added that an open invitation had been made to all "upcountry Tamil parties and trade unions of Indian origin".

Mr. Sellasamy who also spoke at the press briefing said that he was "happy to be back in his old place" and was ready to face challenges in the common interest of the community.

Mr. Thondaman said that an end to the war in the North and East would be a primary concern of the party. "Today it is the North and East, tomorrow it may be the plantations," he said.

The CWC recently formed an alliance with the Upcountry People’s Front led by Periatamby Chandrasekaran.