Arun dropped, Pilleyan in, Karuna seeks national list slot


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The UPFA has deprived chief SLFP organiser for Batticaloa electorate Arun Tambimuttu of an opportunity to contest at the August 17 parliamentary polls. The district comprises three electorates, namely Batticaloa, Kalkudah and Padirippu.

Tambimuttu appeared before the UPFA nominations board headed by coalition’s General Secretary Susil Premjayantha last week.

The UPFA has assured Arun that he would be accommodated on its preliminary National List.

Thambimuttu functioned as Batticaloa electorate organiser for five years during the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second term.

Political sources said that eight-member UPFA Batticaloa District team would be led by M.L.A.M. Hisbullah, formerly of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC). Asked whether former MP and Vice President of the SLFP Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan aka Karuna Amman would join the fray in Batticaloa, sources said that the one-time LTTE field commander had requested that he be appointed again on the National List.

Karuna had turned down a UPFA request to contest the forthcoming poll, sources said, adding that he didn’t want to risk an opportunity to return to parliament for a second term. However, another veteran LTTE cadre, S. Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan, currently a member of Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) would contest on the UPFA ticket. Sources said that in addition to Pilleyan, another ex-LTTE cadre would be on the UPFA’s list.

Another rising star in the UPFA team with a political lineage is Paddirippu SLFP organiser Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, whose late grandfather S.M. Rasamanickmam was elected to parliament four times from the electorate and he was also the President of ITAK at one time. Shanakiyan, an old Trinitian had his higher education in Australia and he chucked up a lucrative career there in finance to enter local politics from his home town in Sri Lanka.

Tambimuttu joined the SLFP in Oct 2010 on the invitation of the former SLFP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The only son of slain parliamentarian Sam Tambimuttu returned from the UK after the annihilation of the LTTE in May 2009.

Tambimuttu, Hisbullah, Muralitharan, Shanakiyan and Chandrakanthan backed Rajapaksa at the January 8, 2015 presidential election.

Sources said that the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was eying three out of five seats in the Batticaloa electoral district with the SLMC and the UPFA fighting for one seat each.

SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday told The Island that his party would go it alone in Batticaloa and Vanni electoral districts, whereas SLMC candidates in remaining districts were on the UNP ticket.

Sources said that the UPFA fielded Hisbullah as its team leader in spite of Batticaloa being predominately Tamil and generally supportive of TNA policies. The TNA delivered the Batticaloa District to Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential poll with an overwhelming majority.

Well informed sources asserted that the TNA, UNP as well as the UPFA had been wooing those who fought for the LTTE.

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