The declaration was made in Sinhalese before the SLMC leader delivered the 12th A. H. M. Ashraff commemoration speech in Tamil at party headquarters, Dharussalam.
SLMC leader’s media spokesman Dr. A. R. A. Hafeez last night said that the party was having talks with both the government and the Tamil National Congress (TNA). Dr. Hafeez asserted that the party wouldn’t compromise its demand a Muslim Chief Minister for the East under any circumstances.
TNA National List MP M. A. Sumanthiran last night said that his leader MP R. Sampanthan had offered the post of the Chief Minister to a Muslim in the run-up to the recently concluded PC polls. In fact, the TNA had publicly declared its readiness to offer that post to the SLMC in a bid to reach an understanding ahead of the election, the MP said. Responding to a query, Sumanthiran said that an SLMC delegation and a three-man TNA group comprising Sampanthan, Mavai Senadhiraja and Sumanthiran had met at a neutral venue at Park Road, Colombo 5.
The SLMC secured seven slots in the 37 member council, whereas the SLFP-led UPFA obtained 14, including two bonus seats. The ITAK, the UNP and the National Freedom Front (NFF), won 11, 4 and 1 seats, respectively. Sumanthiran said that the ITAK’s pre-poll offer of Chief Ministerial post was made both to Minister Hakeem and SLMC General Secretary Hassen Ali. The bottom line was that there was no change in ITAK position, the MP said. "We are ready to accept a Muslim as the Chief Minister."
UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premjayanth wasn’t available for comment. Sumanthiran said that the TNA was ready to discuss Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera’s proposal for an all-party provincial administration in the Eastern Province if President Mahinda Rajapaksa endorsed the Communist Party Chief’s move. Sumanthiran pointed out that Minister Gunasekera’s had written to General Secretaries of all parties, which won seats at the eastern Provincial Councils and President Rajapaksa.
Ministerial sources said that UPFA’s efforts to accommodate the SLMC on its nomination lists failed due to Minister A. L. M. Athaulla demanding an equal number of nominations given to the SLMC in the Digamadulla electorate.
Having contested the last parliamentary polls on the UNP ticket in April 2010, the SLMC switched its allegiance to President Rajapaksa. The eight-member SLMC parliamentary group functions as a UPFA constituent party.
The UPFA felt in the run-up to the election that a Tamil would remain a Chief Minister of the Eastern PC until the elections for the Northern PC was held in September 2013, according to government sources.