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N-E Tamil Muslim parties still undecided

Tamil and Muslim political parties from the North and the East such as the EPDP, ACMC, NC, TMVP, NUA and the PLOTE continue with the selection of candidates but have decided to put off their earlier decision to contest alone until senior presidential advisor, MP, Basil Rajapaksa returns to the country next week, political sources said yesterday

President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayanth held discussions last week to persuade these Tamil and Muslim political parties, which are supportive of the Government to contest under the UPFA Banner and Betel Symbol at the forthcoming 7th Parliamentary General Elections, Government sources said.

The EPDP confirmed yesterday that its leader, Minister Douglas Devananda had presided over a meeting of the Party Central Committee where it was decided that it would be advantageous for the party to contest all the districts of the North alone. But President had been able to persuade Devananda to change his decision following a meeting held last Wednesday.

Following the meeting with Senior Presidential advisor next week the Party Central Committee meeting would have to be convened if it was to change its earlier decision to contest alone, a EPDP spokesman said.

Judy Devadason, spokesperson for the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) said yesterday that following the meeting, TMVP Leader and Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan had with President Rajapaksa last Wednesday, the decision to contest all the districts of the Eastern Province alone was postponed, which was not to the liking of the Party Central Committee as it continued to remain firm on its earlier decision.

Finally the Leader was able to convince the Central Committee Members that the TMVP would go it alone in the Batticaloa and the Trincomalee Districts while it would contest the Digamadulla District under the UPFA Banner and Betel Symbol. A final decision would be arrived at following the meeting with the Senior Presidential Advisor next week, he said.

Members of Central Committee had pointed out that with the Government imposing restrictions on fishing in the Eastern Province following the UPFA defeat at the recent presidential elections, the opposition from the people against the government’s policies of revenge are on the increase and if the TMVP were to contest under the UPFA Banner, it may stand to lose, he said.

With the leader deciding that none of the present Provincial Councilors would be accommodated in the nomination lists, three Nomination Boards from the three Districts commenced the task and are continuing with interviewing of prospective candidates giving more priority to select educated young professionals and academics.

The Leader of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) and Mister Rishard A. Badhuideen said that though the majority of the Muslim voters in the North, especially in Mannar had voted for President Rajapaksa, the party High Command had decided that going it alone and contesting all the districts of the North and the East could result be more beneficial.

A Senior Spokesperson for the ACMC said that following a meeting with the President and Senior members of the Government including UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayath, the party had decided to reverse its stand and put the earlier decision to contest alone on hold

The Leader of the National Congress and Minister A. L. M. Athaullah had also reversed the party’s decision to go it alone in the Eastern Province especially in the Digamadulla district. The Party would take a final decision following a meeting with Senior Presidential Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa next week, a party source said yesterday

Deputy Leader of the National Unity Alliance and Lawyer Abul Kalam said that the National Unity Alliance Leader and Minister Mrs. Ferial Ashraff had decided to await the return of Senior Presidential Advisor to make a final decision

The Leader of PLOTE Dharmalingham Siddharthan said though they had placed their faith in President Rajapaksa and been supportive of Resettlement Program implemented by Basil Rajapaksa, this time, whilst keeping their options open until the return of Senior Presidential Advisor the Party would hold discussions with other Tamil Parties as the EPDP, Sri TELO, EROS, EPRLF etc.

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