|UNP warns candidates against presumptions
UNP General Secretary Senarath Kapukotuwa yesterday said that the party has named mayoral candidates only in two places - Colombo and Kandy where they have fielded Prasanna Gunawardena and Kesara Ekanayake.
"We have to disappoint many," Kapukotuwa said while implying that the party would decide on council leaders after taking into consideration everything, not only the number of preference votes candidates polled.
Constituent parties of the UNP-led UNF government have placed their candidates also on the UNP list as they did at the last parliamentary elections. At least, a few of the top jobs are expected to be given to them.
Kapukotuwa agreed that in some areas several candidates contesting the same council have declared themselves as the chief candidates. Four candidates contesting Kotte Municipal Council have put up posters claiming they are the mayoral contestants, he said,
"At Anuradhapura six have declared themselves the leaders," he said while stressing that they should not have made false claims knowing that the party has not guaranteed them positions.
He agreed that false claims over leadership of local government bodies had only caused problems among candidates.
He explained that the polls campaign has been handled by a committee that includes deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya, UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrema, Daya Pelpola and the General Secretary. "Of course, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe supervises the campaign," he said while expressing confidence that they would be able to win the majority of councils.
Commenting on opposition claims of UNP inspired violence against their candidates, the General Secretary pointed out that on a directive of the premier a special committee has been established to ensure a free and fair election that would be held on a staggered basis beginning Wednesday.
Bradman Weerakoon, Secretary to the Premier heads the committee that includes representatives of the PA and the JVP.
"We met for the first time on Friday," Kapukotuwa said while adding that DIG Gamini Navaratne in charge of the police elections secretariat has been included in the committee. The UNP was represented by Kapukotuwa and Daya Pelpola.
Kapukotuwa said that he has asked opposition representatives to get in touch with him directly if they have problems relating to the polls. "We are ready to co-operate," he said while claiming that the government has directed the police to take whatever steps necessary to curb violence. He pointed out that there were only a few serious incidents so far in the campaign.
Asked to comment, DIG Navaratne said that they have recorded 378 polls-related incidents. Of them, only 46 could be termed as violent attacks. He said that there had been one politically motivated killing, reported from the Galle division. He added that both parties involved in the incident appeared to be from the UNP.
|POLITICS | DEFENCE | FEATURES | OPINION | BUSINESS | LEISURE | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS|