Batti LG elections at a glance - Sri Lanka Guardian

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Batti LG elections at a glance

"The Government has also taken steps to ensure a free and fair election. There are 16 refugee camps where people displaced by war are taking shelter. There are 124 families living in those camps. "
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by Manjula Pradeep Weerasuriya

(March 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) By January 25, six political parties and 22 independent groups had handed in their nominations for the election of 101 members to nine local government bodies in the Batticaloa District, Eastern Province. The elections are scheduled to be held on March 10.

The Local Government Elections in the Batticaloa District were due in 2006, but elections were held only in respect of three local bodies while the elections in respect of the remaining nine bodies were cancelled owing to the war situation in the area. The forthcoming local government election is concerned with the nine local government bodies that failed to conduct elections in 2006.

There are 2,70,473 voters registered in the voters list. They are expected to exercise their vote in 285 polling centres. According to the voters’ lists, 54,948 voters go to 51 polling centres to elect 19 members to the Batticaloa Municipal Council.

In this way, there are 45,336 voters to elect 14 members at 48 centres for the Eravurpattu Pradeshiya Sabha, 41,858 voters to elect 9 members at 47 centres, for the Koralipattu Pradeshiya Sabha, 12,419 voters to elect 11 members at 16 centres for the Koralipattu North Pradeshiya Sabha, 38,386 voters to elect 10 members at 39 centres for the Manmunai South and Eruvilpattu Pradeshiya Sabha, 18,759 voters to elect 9 members at 20 centres for the Manmunai Pradeshiya Sabha, 15,771 voters to elect 11 members at 16 centres for the Manmunai West Pradeshiya Sabha, 14,880 voters to elect 9 members at 18 centres for the Manmunai South West Pradeshiya Sabha and 28,116 voters to elect 9 members at 30 centres for the Porativepattu Pradeshiya Sabha.

Election campaign


The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Party (T.M.V.P.) is contesting the Batticaloa Municipal Council seats in conjunction with the Government under the betel leaf while contesting seats in eight other Pradeshiya Sabhas as a separate party under the boat symbol . Their election campaign emphasizes that their aim is to bring about a true political leadership to the people of the Batticaloa District which is presently dominated by unscrupulous Tamil politicians living in Colombo. The Party’s political wing leader, Edwin Krishnanandarajah said that they are in favour of a democratic process as a solution to the problems of the Tamil people and the party will gradually give up arms, once a true Tamil leadership is established in the Batticaloa District.

Common symbol

The main Tamil political parties the E.P.D.P., E.P.R.L.F. and P.L.O.T. contest in the local government elections under the common symbol of the Apple while E.D.F comes under the symbol of a hoe. The United People’s Freedom Alliance (U.P.F.A.) will contest under the symbol of the betel leaf. The Jathika Sanwardhana Peramuna’s (JSF) symbol is the coconut tree, the National Congress symbol is a horse. the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has selected a tree as its symbol .

Our correspondent who visited the election front in the Batticaloa District a few days ago observed a tense atmosphere everywhere . Streets were empty after dusk and firearms were a common sight. Armed gangs in addition to security personnel were moving about freely . meanwhile there was a rumour that a candidate of the Pilleyan group had been abducted. The people of the were uncertain and were expecting anything to happen at any moment. Armed groups seemed to manipulate the political arena. Several non-governmental organisations play an imperial role in the District, some imes to the displeasure of the people of the area . People live in fear that any time they will be robbed by armed groups. The Government has taken steps to safeguard the interests of the voters as well as those of the candidates.

The Government has also taken steps to ensure a free and fair election. There are 16 refugee camps where people displaced by war are taking shelter. There are 124 families living in those camps.

Expensive

Among them 201 inmates are males and 217 females. 55 girls and 52 boys who were students from grade 1 to Advanced Level were among them. There were 30 women who were widowed due to the war. These refugees receive dry rations from the World Food Organisation. The fortnightly ration they receive is hardly enough for 10 days. Food items are extremely expensive in the District. By and large people feel that the rule under the security forces is far better and safer than being under the LTTE.

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