UPFA defends fielding relatives


By Dasun Edirisinghe

The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has defended its move to field relatives of incumbent politicians at the forthcoming elections to the Northern, North–Western and Central Provincial Councils.

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said that fielding relatives of incumbent politicians was not wrong and even in India it was the practice.

He said that in India, the Nerhu - Gandhi family had fielded several generations of relatives and the ruling coalition there was now led by Sonia Gandhi, the wife of late Rajiv Gandhi.

However, SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena earlier announced that the party had taken a decision not to field any relatives of

incumbent politicians during last year’s Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Council elections.

According to him, it was not applicable for those who wished to retire from politics.

The JVP accused a the UPFA of giving nominations to a considerable number of relatives of incumbent ministers, including the Prime Minister for the forthcoming PC polls.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne’s son would contest on the UPFA ticket from the Kandy District at the forthcoming Central Provincial Council election.

Herath said that Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s younger brother and brother-in-law were also in the fray from the Kandy District.

He said that brothers of Private Bus Transport Minister C. B. Ratnayake and Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake would contest from the Nuwara Eliya District, while Land and Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon’s son would contest from the Matale District.

Sons of Trade Minister Johnston Fernando and Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Minister Jayaratne Herath had been given nominations to contest the North-Western Provincial Council from the Kurunegala District, while Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa’s brother and Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake’s wife would also contest on the UPFA ticket from the same district, the Gampaha District MP said.

Meanwhile, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Sriripala de Silva said that although any party could field relatives of incumbent politicians, people could always reject them at the election.

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