Elections to the Northern, North Western and Central provincial councils of Sri Lanka will be held on September 21, it was announced in Colombo on Thursday. All political parties contesting the polls have filed their nominations. Even as debates around the 13th Amendment — which followed the India-Lanka accord for 1987 — continue, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told editors of local media at a breakfast meeting on Tuesday that land and police powers would remain with him.

The Sri Lankan government has been rather consistent in its position against devolving land and police powers to the provinces. Early July, when National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon was in Colombo, President Rajapaksa told him about the “practical problems” in devolving powers to provinces of a “small country such as Sri Lanka”.

India, however, urged the Sri Lankan government to work towards a political settlement that would go beyond the 13th Amendment.