By Sandun A Jayasekera
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was re-elected to run the Uva Provincial Council for another term, but with a narrow margin compared to the mandate it secured at the 2009 election.
"The election results from the Uva Provincial poll is a rejection of the regime’s policies"
‘Uva shows MR vulnerable’
The United National Party (UNP), buoyed by the increase of its vote base, said yesterday challenged the government to hold the election as planned and face the truth about the chaos and misery that the Rajapaksa rule had brought upon the people.
Issuing a statement, the UNP said the first salvos of a freedom struggle that eventually brought down imperialist rule in Sri Lanka were heard in the far corners of Uva-Wellassa nearly 200 years ago.
“Resonating that same heroic spirit, that yearning for freedom and justice, the march towards the ultimate defeat of the dictatorial Rajapaksa regime has begun in the Uva Province,” the UNP said.
“The election results from the Uva Provincial poll is a rejection of the regime's policies of enriching a few while mere crumbs are thrown at the masses. This is no longer an acceptable mantra of governance.
"In fact, the comparison of the elections in the media and websites has been pulled out. The Rajapaksa regime especially President Rajapaksa is now vulnerable. "
“It is no secret that President Mahinda Rajapaksa left the Uva Provincial election till the very end in order to ensure it would be a final show of strength before he contests a third, illegal term for the presidency. The Uva Province was perceived to be UPFA's strongest region. It was to be a spectacular win, a message to the rest of Sri Lanka and the world about the unshaken bastions of Rajapaksa power.
“Today, the Government has got its answer. The message from the historic region of Uva-Wellassa to the Rajapaksa regime could not be clearer. The people have had enough of this Government's lies.
“They have had enough of its corruption. They are tired of its nepotism and self-serving rule. The people have rejected the lawlessness and impunity perpetrated by the incumbent regime. The time has come for the Rajapaksa regime to start packing its bags. Their reign of terror and corruption is nearing its end.
“We know now that democracy will win the day. Uva-Wellassa has proved this by the way they voted in Saturday's election.
“Our party's own Harin Fernando is rewarded in his tremendous sacrifice. Going up against the might of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, this young politician has set an example for aspiring politicians and statesmen across party lines by the magnitude of what he has managed to achieve. By the might of his sacrifice and the energy he brought to the UNP campaign in Badulla, Harin Fernando has put the party on track for victory at the Presidential Election.
“The Rajapaksa regime which is running scared has pressured the electronic media not to compare the comparison between the 2009 and the present Uva Provincial Council election result.
“In fact, the comparison of the elections in the media and websites has been pulled out. The Rajapaksa regime especially President Rajapaksa is now vulnerable.
“We challenge the regime to hold the election as planned and face the truth about the chaos and misery that the Rajapaksa rule has brought upon the people.
“In the face of this first salvo, fired against the regime's authoritarianism and corruption in Uva, it will be incumbent upon all forces opposing Rajapaksa rule to unite in order to deliver the people from this family curse. It will be our duty for the sake of the nation,” the UNP said in the statement.
The only major violent incident took place on election day at Bandarawela
‘UPFA failed to field the young’
Failure to field young and new faces in the Badulla District contributed to the UPFA’s electoral setback at the Saturday’s PC polls, General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha said yesterday.
Addressing the media at the SLFP head office, Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Premajayantha said the media must not compare the 2009 and 2010 PC poll results with Saturday’s Uva PC poll results as they were held at a time the entire country was basked in euphoria of war victory.
‘The president and the government were extremely popular at that time as the polls were held soon after the victory on the conclusion of the humanitarian operation. Though there has been a drop of voter support for the UPFA at this election, we have been able to win two very strong UNP bastions of Mahiyangana and Passara constituencies in spite of them winning by the UNP in 2009 which is a huge victory for the UPFA,” he stressed.
"Failure to field young and new faces in the Badulla District contributed to the UPFA’s electoral setback at the Saturday’s PC polls, General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha said yesterday."
Asked whether the government was ready to change its election strategies in future following Saturday’s election results, Minister Premajayantha said the government changed its strategies from election to election.
He did not rule out the possibility of conducting the Presidential election in 2015 as speculated by many and added the government was ready to face any election as it had won eight out of nine PC polls held in the recent past and polled almost double of what UNP had polled at these elections.
Minister Premajayantha pointed out that the performance and personality of candidates were a huge contributory factor at this election and those who campaigned hard and went to the grassroots level and interacted closely with voters emerged victorious at the election.
He blamed certain media outlets for making a mountain out of a molehill by giving huge publicity to small incidents and depicting a violent atmosphere in Uva that affected the UPFA election campaign negatively.
“The only major violent incident took place on election day at Bandarawela and the victims were UPFA candidates and supporters. Our supporters were beaten by Bandarawela Mayor who came to the Bandarawela Police Station with about 150 UNP supporters and assaulted UPFA supporters who were there to lodge a complaint on them by Bandarawela Mayor and his supporters a while ago. I am an eyewitness to this incident and it was I who advised our supporters to lodge a complaint at the Oolice station,” Minister Premajayantha aid.
report by Sandun A Jayasekera