Mysterious 109th voter was an SLMCer?

May 5 (IL) Amidst ‘very strong rumours’ that the 109th voter who voted in favour of the Government candidate for the Speaker post on the 22nd of April was a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Parliamentarian, the SLMC Secretary General Hasan Ali yesterday denied these rumours saying that his party had taken a collective agreement to vote in favour of W.J.M. Lokubandara of the Opposition United National Party.

However sources alleged that this particular voter who is from the Vanni District had been approached by members of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance Government numerous times with ‘handsome deals’ in their bid to get him to their side. “He had agreed to join them, but later had for unknown reasons changed his mind,” sources claimed.

Mr. Ali also confirmed the government’s attempts to get the SLMC members to support them. “Even I was approached by the government who was seemingly very desperate to reach the 113 target as they had only 108 members including the two rebel Jathika Hela Urumaya monk MPs,” he said.

However it is learnt that despite various attempts by certain section of the government to get the SLMC towards their bench, the two Muslim allies of the Government led by Ferial Ashraff and A.L.M. Athaullah had voiced their disapproval towards the entire SLMC joining the Alliance. While the Alliance’s main constituent, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, was not in favour of SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem joining the Government had okayed some Muslim Congress members joining the alliance, sources said.