EP PC poll: Pilleyan, SLMC on UPFA ticket
Karuna’s sister to join the frayJune 29, 2012, 9:19 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
TMVP leader former Eastern Province Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pilleyan) is pushing for the lion’s share of UPFA nominations in the Batticaloa District.
Political sources told The Island that talks with its partners, including Chandrakanthan were at an early stage. The SLFP-led coalition was also exploring the possibility of allocating at least six slots to UPFA constituent, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) and another Muslim political faction in the coalition.
The SLMC contested the first EP PC poll on May 10, 2008 on the UNP ticket. Having backed the Opposition candidate, Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the Jan 2009 presidential election, the SLMC contested the last parliamentary polls in April 2010 on the UNP ticket, though it subsequently switched its allegiance to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
That election was the first since the de-merger of the Eastern Province from the Northern Province consequent to the JVP moving the Supreme Court against the temporary amalgamation of the two province under the July 1987 Indo-Lanka Peace Accord.
The SLFP was likely to field one contestant in the Batticaloa District, sources said. The outcome of the Eastern Province PC poll result would largely depend on the Batticaloa District result, where 11 members would be elected. Ten and Seventeen members are elected from Trincomalee and Digamadulla electoral Districts, respectively.
SLFP Batticaloa District Organizer, Arun Tambimuttu yesterday told The Island that his party’s on-going effort was to reach agreement with its allies on the right formula for Batticaloa. Former EPRLF MP Sam Tambimuttu’s son asserted that the people of the EP would appreciate what the UPFA had achieved in the Province since the first EP PC poll, which took place while the army was still fighting on the Vanni front.
Minister Abdul Rishad Badhiutheen (UPFA Vanni) told The Island that his ACMC would shortly discuss allocation of seats with the government. The ACMC is represented in Parliament by three members, including minister, Badhiutheen. The party has 64 Pradeshiya Sabha members including four Chairmen and four Vice Chairmen. The Minister said that his party had three representatives in the recently dissolved EP PC.
Political sources said that the Muslims wanted the post of chief minister, though Pilleyan, too, was keen to secure a second term. However, both camps feared that forthcoming contest between the TMVP (on the UPFA ticket) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could sharply divide the Tamil vote thereby giving an advantage to Muslims, sources said. However, the candidate polling the highest number of preferential votes is likely to be appointed chief minister in the event of the UPFA’s victory.
One-time LTTE commander in charge of Batticaloa-Ampara sector, Minister, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan or Karuna Amman has requested the UPFA to accommodate his sister on the Batticaloa list. The Island learns that Karuna’s sister, a teacher by profession, wants to contest from Kalkudah electorate.
Karuna quit the TMVP to accept the post of SLFP Vice President and was appointed to Parliament through the UPFA National List.
Sources speculated that one-time UNP Minister, Ali Zaheer Moulana was likely to contest on the UPFA ticket. At the behest of the UNP Moulana quit his National List seat soon after helping Karuna to flee Batticaloa in March 2004.
MP M. L. A. M. Hisbullah told The Island that the UPFA could comfortably regain the Eastern Province at the forthcoming poll due to the ruling coalition being able to field a strong team there. "We are hoping to secure as much as 70 per cent of the vote," he said. The Opposition would never be able to match our grouping, he said. Asked whether a dispute over the post of Chief Minister could jeopardize the UPFA campaign, the Batticaloa District MP emphasized that their task was now to regain the province. The decision on the CM would be announced by President Rajapaksa at the correct time.
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Last Updated May 21 2013 | 06:02 pm