The storm within the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress (SLMC) had not completely settled observed its former Secretary General Hassan Ali. He said that while there would not be a split within the SLMC, the people were not necessarily happy with its current leadership. Trouble has been brewing within the SLMC since 2015 when SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem introduced the new position of ‘Secretary to the Command’ to the party Constitution apart from the existing post of General Secretary which Ali held. It was seen as a move to sideline the vociferous Ali who was gaining popularity within the party.
Ali at the time, objected to the sudden change in the Constitution and complained to the Elections Commissioner about it. The latter informed Hakeem that they would not be allowed to contest elections unless they resolved their internal issues. Hakeem thereafter promised Ali an MP seat in return for him withdrawing his complaint and that he would also restore his position as General Secretary at the 2016 delegates’ conference. None of the promises materialized and at the recent party convention, the post of General Secretary was completely axed, leaving Ali no position at all in the party.
“They have abolished the position. They offered me another but I declined it, I don’t want any position”, said Ali speaking to Daily News. He added that he would remain with the party and had no plans of taking over the leadership or leading a movement against the leader in the future.
In reply to him not receiving the MP seat, Ali said,
“I was not going after the MP seat, it was Hakeem who offered the MP seat . He didn’t allow me to contest elections and promised to put me on the National List. He put my name first in the SLMC list and sixth in the UNP but later appointed his brother and a friend of his” and added, “Perhaps he was planning to push me out of Parliament”.