In the wake of two UPFA constituents, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) contesting the Uva Provincial Council poll on their own, the SLFP has decided against fielding Muslim candidates in a bid to facilitate a post-election alliance with the two parties. SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem and ACMC leader Rishard Bathiudeen decided to contest on the two-leaf symbol of the Democratic Unity Alliance (DUA) after having formed an alliance, which also included Up Country Muslim Council (UCMC).
Senior SLFP Vice President Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said that having closely analysed voting in previous national and provincial level elections, the SLFP decided not to field Muslim candidates, hence giving those contesting under DUA a better chance.
The minister said that the SLFP could comfortably retain the Uva Provincial Council comprising the electoral districts of Badulla and Moneragala, though some of its partners were contesting on their own. The Badulla District MP was addressing the media at the party headquarters yesterday, the day after nominations closed.
The election is scheduled for September 20.
SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha and SLFP Treasurer Dallas Alahapperuma joined Minister de Silva who briefly explained what he called the ground situation with the focus on Badulla. In accordance with the agreement that dealt with the Badulla electoral district, the dominant plantation trade union party, the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) fielded three Tamil speaking candidates, while the Kandurata Janatha Peramuna and the Upcountry People’s Front fielded Tamil speaking candidate each.
Minister de Siva said that the SLFP too, fielded a Tamil speaking candidate, Vadivel Suresh while the UPFA constituent, the MEP fielded one Sinhala candidate. The SLFP fielded 15 candidates.
Minister de Silva asserted that the SLFP could field only two new candidates in Badulla due to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya reducing three seats previously allocated to the districts.
Minister Alahapperuma ridiculed the UNP for moving the judiciary against the polls chief’s decision. The minister said that the UNP’s action was meant to undermine the electoral process as well as dilute the public confidence in a vital mechanism. The distribution of the seats in the Uva Provincial Council was determined according to the Act governing provincial council elections, the minister said.
The number of seats for the Badulla and Moneragala Districts were allocated based on the population and geographical features.
In the Moneragala District too, the CWC received one slot and the National Freedom Front (NFF), the LSSP and the Democratic Left Alliance (DLF) one each. There too, the SLFP received the lion’s share of slots, with 17 SLFPers contesting in Moneragala district.
SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena said that nothing could be as foolish as the UNP projecting to win Uva by exploiting the difficulties caused by the ongoing drought. Explaining measures taken by the government to alleviate the suffering of the people, Minister Sirisena said that the electorate wouldn’t be deceived by Opposition’s gimmicks.
Commenting on the recent spat with the NFF, Minister de Silva asserted that the NFF contesting Badulla on its own due to failure on its and that of the SLFP’s part to resolve an issue wouldn’t cause any problem. However, the NFF is contesting Moneragala district on the UPFA ticket.
Minister de Silva stressed that none of those who had failed to secure nomination from the UPFA switched their allegiance to any other political party.