SLMC top rankers quit Parliament to contest EPC polls
Hakeem’s, Dawood’s, Hassan Ali’s fate now in voters’ hands

by Franklyn R. Satyapalan

In a dramatic move which observers say, was a brave and bold decision, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leadership, Chairman Basheer Cegu Dawood, Leader Rauf Hakeem and Secretary General M. T. Hassan Ali resigned their parliamentary seats yesterday afternoon (2) to take up the challenge to "restore the rights of the Muslim community and democracy in the East by contesting the forthcoming Provincial Council election," SLMC spokesman M. Faiz told The Island.

The Secretary Constitutional Council and Acting Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda confirmed that he had received their letters of resignation at around 2.00 p.m. yesterday.

Asked why they sacrificed their parliamentary seats, the spokesman said that the parliamentary seats were secondary but they had to work against moves to defeat the Muslims in the East through coercion and intimidation of their members to join the government party.

"The party rank and file at grassroots level in the East have acknowledged the sacrifice made by the leaders and entrusted the future of the party to the voters. The people will demonstrate their will and return the party victorious at the Provincial Council election," he said.

It was seen in political circles as a bold move to restore the image of the SLMC in the East especially after the pro-government and UPFA candidates scored a victory in the local government elections which the SLMC and UNP did not contest since the Tamil National Alliance also had announced that it would not contest the Provincial Council Election.

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