|Sunday, 17 March 2002|
|Politics||Today's Top Story|
Three major 'TU' parties in the fray in hill country
by P. Krishnasamy
Three major trade union-based political parties, the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), Up-country People's Front (UPF) and the Ceylon Workers' Democratic Alliance (CWDA) are in the fray for this Wednesday's local government hustings, in the hill country plantation areas. The fourth union-based party, the National Democratic Party (NDP) is no longer in the contest after its nominations were rejected due to discrepancies.
Nominations submitted by the NDP led by former Kandy PC member S. A. Kandasamy were rejected over discrepancies. Party sources said that they did not appoint any agents since their General Secretary, Kandasamy, himself was planning to submit the nominations. But this was forestalled when Mr. Kandasamy became a victim of intimidation and violence. Acid was thrown at him at the party office in Colombo on January 8 by unidentified persons and he was hospitalised in a critical condition. He is still in hospital, the sources said.
This was the first reported incident of election-related violence in the up-country plantation areas.
A clash between candidates fielded by the CWC, led by Minister of Plantation Infrastructure and Housing, Arumugam Thondaman, and the UPF, led by Minister of Community Development and Deputy Minister of Irrigation and Water Management, P. Chandrasekaran, is on the cards, according to political observers. The two parties are constituent units of the UNF government, but have not reached a common 'no-contest' agreement.
The NDP has reached an electoral agreement with the UPF and would support it at the elections, it is learnt.
The CWC is fielding 198 candidates, all on the UNP ticket, to contest Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas in Badulla, Nuwara-Eliya, Hatton, Ratnapura, Colombo, Gampola, Kurunegala and Kalutara districts.
The UPF is fielding one candidate each on the UNP ticket for Municipal Councils of Colombo, Kandy, Badulla and Ratnapura, Urban Councils of Nawalapitiya, Bandarawela, Haldummulla and Balangoda and Pradeshiya Sabhas of Ratnapura, Atakalampanna, Balangoda, Imbulpe and Kuruwita. The party is contesting, under its own 'Mamotty' symbol, for 6 Pradeshiya Sabhas (Kundasale, Rattota, Nuwara-Eliya, Kotmale, Walapane, Badulla), one Municipal Council (Matale), and two Urban Councils (Hatton-Dickoya and Talawakelle-Lindula).
The CWC breakaway group, the CWDA, led by former MP for Badulla, T. V. Chennan, is also contesting several up-country areas on its 'fish' symbol. The party is contesting the two MCs of Badulla and Nuwara-Eliya and six PSs of Passara, Badulla, Hali-Ela, Sornatotta, Bandarawela and Pussellawa. Its nominations for Haputale and Ella were rejected by the Returning Officers due to discrepancies.
The pro-UNP Lanka National Estate Workers' Union which has an MP, K. Velautham, representing Badulla is also fielding its own candidates in several plantation areas on the UNP ticket. It has a strong trade union base in many of the plantation areas.
Produced by Lake House