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Govt. denies offering Chief Minister post to Pillaiyan
The government yesterday denied claims that it had offered to appoint TMVP leader Pillaiyan as the Chief Minister of East.

General Secretary of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance,

Minister Susil Premajayantha said "We have not offered the Chief Minister-ship to anyone. We will take a decision on it only after the elections to the Eastern Provincial council are completed."

He said at an SLFP Central Committee meeting presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa a decision had been taken that all political parties in the Alliance Government would contest under the single banner of the UPFA and the betel symbol. "I have written to several parties, including the JVP and the SLMC inviting them to join us and to contest under one banner and senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa had discussed this with the SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem a few days ago.

All the party leaders in the alliance, the Mahajhana Eksath Peramuna, Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Mahajhana Pakshaya, Jathika Hela Urumaya, National Unity Alliance and the All Ceylon Muslim Congress,

were expected to meet yesterday afternoon to decide on the number of slots for each constituent party.

Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said that the Committee comprising Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa, SLFP General Secretary Minister Maithripala Sirisena and UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha would deliberate and decide on the candidates by March 31.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Nidhas Sevaka Sangamaya Leslie Devendra said there had been a very strong response from the SLFP rank and file in the Eastern Province assuring the party’s hierarchy that the party could make an impact and gain a resounding victory at the May 10 Provincial poll.

He said that union members attached to the Petroleum Corporation, Sri Lanka Ports Authority in Trincomaqlee, Valachchenai Paper Factory in Batticaloa, Mineral Sands Corporation in Pullmuddai, Ceramics factory in Amparai and Fisher Societies in the Eastern Province have already responded to the Governments decision to take up the challenge and win in the East.

"We are confident that we could win this Provincial Council elections for the Government," he said.

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