The Defence Ministry has taken immediate action to stop the airlifting of some 300 Army deserters to the north on a request made by UNP General Secretary N. V. K. K. Weragoda, party sources said last night.
The UNP made the request to President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Defence Ministry after it heard of plans to airlift 300 army deserters to the north to create disturbances and disrupt the polls, they said.
They said money had been paid to an airline to airlift the 300 deserters and the party had sent Defence Secretary Asoka Jayawardena a list of the names and photographs of those who were to be sent. The UNP also made a similar complaint to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and asked him to take action.
Meanwhile, the UNP yesterday called for tight security to protect voters in the north.
Party spokesman G. L. Peiris addressing a news conference called upon the people to protect their right to vote and defeat those who were trying to disrupt tomorrow`s presidential election.
Prof. Peiris accused the JVP of trying to rig the polls and create trouble as it did in the past. He charged that some 300 army deserters had been mobilised by the JVP to disrupt the polls in the north and other parts of the country.
In an upbeat mood, he said the victory of UNP presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe was almost sure.
UNP frontliner Bandula Gunawardene told the news conference that though the campaign upto now had been relatively peaceful, the party feared certain elements were trying to create trouble and disrupt the polls.