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SLMC-UNP rift deepens over Ampara remarks
A section of UNP members including ministers are heading for an open confrontation with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress after making allegations that the Rauff Hakeem-led Congress was blocking UNP work in the eastern province.

The senior members will be submitting a report to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe next week about the issue after they carried out a detailed study and held discussions with the UNP members in the Ampara district over the weekend.

The reports come following a surprise visit by a strong UNP contingent to the Ampara district where they held discussions with grassroots level party organisers who complained that the SLMC was suppressing the UNP supporters in the district and as a result they were not benefiting from the government.

It was at one of these meetings that Minister P. Dayaratne who represents the Ampara district drawing reference to the SLMC said that it was the dog who could wag the tail and not the tail that wagged the dog. Minister Rajitha Senaratne came out with a similar outburst saying that Mr. Hakeem should remember that the government's majority was the UNP, not the SLMC.

Minister Dayaratne told The Sunday Times he took up the issue as he felt that the UNPers in Ampara were being ill-treated by the SLMC and as a result he was receiving large number of complaints from party supporters.

"We are awaiting Mr. Hakeem's return after the peace talks to take up the matter with the Prime Minister," SLMC member and Deputy Minister Basheer Cegu Dawood told The Sunday Times. He said two members had already met the Prime Minister and expressed concern over the comments by the ministers.

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