Putting off PC polls for the greater good of the country acceptable - Purawesi Balaya

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Purawesi Balaya Co-Convenor Gamini Viyangoda yesterday welcomed controversial government decision to put off Provincial Council polls purportedly to hold them simultaneously at a future date, even at the expense of Supreme Court ruling pertaining to the proposed 20 Amendment to the Constitution.

Viyangoda, a member of the CTFRM (Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanism), claimed that a vast majority of people certainly appreciated the government move to do away with the practice of having PC polls on a staggered basis.

The civil society activist said so when The Island asked for Purawesi Balaya response to election fearing government surreptitiously putting off PC polls against the backdrop of Local Government elections delayed by over two and a half years.

Purawesi Balaya campaigned for the change of government at January 2015 presidential poll.

Asked whether delaying scheduled election could be justified, Viyangoda said that Purawesi Balaya couldn’t take common stand on delayed LG and PC polls.

In respect of LG polls, Viyangoda said that they, too, believed that the government continuously put them off for political reasons. Viyangoda said that Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha’s claim that polls couldn’t be held due to delay in the delimitation process wasn’t acceptable.

Respected former civil servant Asoka Peiris, who was in charge of the delimitation process had publicly contradicted Minister Musthapha’s claims as regards the postponement LG polls, Viyangoda said.

Viyangoda said the delay in conducting LG polls shouldn’t be compared with the government decision to postpone PC polls. Successive governments had repeatedly abused PCs and in some instances crippled them to suit their political agenda, Viyangoda said.

Viyangoda said that the TNA-run Northern Provincial Council had opposed the 20 Amendment to the Constitution for a different reason. The TNA believed there couldn’t be any justification in the government making laws for PCs after having taken them over temporarily until PC polls could be held, simultaneously.

Viyangoda asserted that whatever the controversies pertaining to last minutes amendments to Provincial Council (Amendment) Act resulting in possible delay in PC polls in Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern provinces, the final result would be surely beneficial to the country.

Viyangoda acknowledged that his reasoning could be depicted by those opposed to the passage of Provincial Council (Amendment) Act as an attempt to justify government’s political requirement. "I will not dispute their right to make that accusation," Viyangoda said, reiterating that the decision would be beneficial though it not seem politically right now.

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