By Saman Indrajith
The TNA, yesterday, asked the UNP to reveal what its presidential candidate, Sajith Premadasa, would do to fulfil what it called the aspirations of Tamils in the North and East and his plans to introduce a new Constitution, with more devolution, if it was to back him.
The TNA had put forth this demand when its representatives R Sampanthan and M.A. Sumanthiran met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers Premadasa, Malik Samarawickrama and Ravi Karunanayake, at Temple Trees, to discuss the TNA’s stand, sources said. The meeting commenced around 3 pm and lasted till about 4.30 pm.
At the commencement of the meeting, PM Wickremesinghe said that his party had nominated Minister Premadasa as its presidential candidate and the nomination would be approved by the UNP-led UNF at a convention to be held on Oct 3 in Colombo. He said that UNF would expect the support of the TNA for its candidate’s election victory.
TNA Leader Sampanthan said that his party’s main concerns were about the safeguard of the aspirations of the Tamils in the North and the East and devolution.
Sampanthan said that they were not ready to extend their support to UNF candidate on the basis of promises made behind closed-door meetings. The UNF candidate should include in his manifesto his solutions for the country’s national problem.
The manifesto should be made available to the Sinhalese of the South and if they endorsed the UNF candidate, then the TNA too would consider supporting him at the presidential poll, Sampanthan said.
Minister Premadasa said that he would discuss the issue with the UNF leaders and inform the TNA of their position on the matter at the next meeting. However a date and place had not been fixed for the next meeting between UNP and TNA, party sources said.