Conspiracy to divide Sri Lanka, says Rajapaksa’s party

Colombo, Dec 29 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government Sunday apprehended an “international conspiracy” to divide the country by getting political parties to support the opposition at next month’s presidential election.

The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that a decision by the country’s main Muslim political party to withdraw from the government Sunday, and back the opposition could be seen as part of that conspiracy, reported Xinhua.
The UPFA said that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) withdrew its support as the president had refused to agree to a demand for a separate Muslim administrative district in the east of the country.
UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha said that discussions with the SLMC had gone well, but the government had refused to agree to the demand.
“The UPFA government cannot agree to create a separate administrative district based on ethnicity. That goes against the government policy,” he said.
Premajayantha said that Sri Lanka’s main minority Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was also expected to support opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena directly or indirectly, as part of the alleged international conspiracy to divide the country.
This was the second major Muslim political party to withdraw from the government within two weeks and extend support to the opposition.
Last week, former industry and commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen and his All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) announced the decision to support Sirisena.
The presidential elections are slated for Jan 8.