Subairdeen refutes Athaulla claim

Mar 2 (IL) A claim by former Sri Lanka Muslim Congress rebel leader A.L.M. Athaullah that parliamentary or ministerial portfolios has never been a issue for him, has been strongly refuted by Athaullah's former colleague and leader of the Ashraff Congress S. Subairdeen.

Athaullah, who is also the leader of the newly formed Muslim National Alliance told a recent news conference that, ministerial or parliamentary seats were never an issue. "We want to chase away fake political leaders," he said.

However Mr. Subairdeen attributed that the sudden decision by Athaullah to join the United People's Freedom alliance (SLFP-JVP) was mainly after Athaullah learnt that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress High Command had totally rejected Athaullah's demand for six parliamentary seats in three districts.

Subairdeen said that Athaullah had demanded three slots for Ampara, two for Batticaloa and one seat for Trincomalee, if he was to contest under the SLMC's tree symbol at the election.

Sources also said that Athaullah was also in the process of holding secret talks with President Kumaratunga, while negotiating with the SLMC. But when he had learnt that the SLMC had rejected his demand he had opted for a more 'handsome offer' extended to him by the President's SLFP-JVP Alliance