The United National Party (UNP) mayoral candidate at the elections to the Colombo Municipal Council yesterday challenged his rival UPFA candidate Milinda Moragoda for a debate on national television so that the people could decide whom they should vote for.
Mayoral candidate A.J.M. Muzammil extended this challenge to his rival Milinda Moragoda at the launch of the UNP manifesto.
It outlined plans for housing, developing basic infrastructure facilities such as roads and sewerage systems, ensuring water and sanitation, garbage disposal, the beautification of the city, improving the living conditions in slums, job sustainability for street vendors and three-wheeler drivers and accessibility for differently abled people.
“My policy can be and would be implemented unlike the false hopes and unrealistic dreams of the government. I invite Mr. Moragoda to join me for a debate on television to decide who the better candidate is,” Muzammil said.
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said some 5.5 million live in Colombo and that the UNP hoped to increase these numbers to eight million.
He said the government had torn down 20,200 houses in Colombo and they continued to do so creating suspicion and fear among the people and added that Mr. Moragoda had vowed to give people the right to information but said it would never become a reality. “The promises made to the people in the Mahinda Chinthanaya have not been fulfilled, so how can the people rely on Mr. Moragoda’s manifesto,” he said.
UNP Mayoral candidate at the Colombo Municipal Council election, A.J.M. Muzammil yesterday charged the same government that boldly claimed they would have no problems winning the upcoming Colombo Municipal Council elections has now resorted to ‘brutality and thuggery’ in a desperate attempt to stifle the will of the people.
He said the government has realised the futility of its attempts to deceive the citizens of Colombo through breaking election laws, blatant abuse of public resources; and is now resorting to violence against the opposition.
“This was evident by the malicious attack by thugs, at a UNP meeting that took place on Monday (19).
“The attack led to the destruction of the home of the gentleman who organized the event. The crime he was guilty of was the exercise of his democratic franchise.
“These thugs then proceeded to my election office in Bambalapitiya; where they destroyed vehicles that were used for election purposes. There was credible evidence this attack took place with the blessings of an elected member of the government,” he said.
One has to question the rhetoric of the opposition candidate who claims to be a gentleman and a scholar why has he not condemned this attack? The response by this candidate to this heinous crime was a true reflection of his character, Mr. Muzammil said.
“The people of Colombo will resist all attempts at violence and coercion; and I remain confident that, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the people of Colombo will go to the polls on October 8 to deliver a resounding verdict for democracy, Mr. Muzammil said.”
The UNP’s mayoral candidate for the forthcoming Colombo Municipal Council Election A. J. M. Muzammil said yesterday that a meeting in support of him held at Kotahena on September 19, had been attacked allegedly by goon squads deployed by an elected government member.
The thugs also damaged the house, of the person who had organised the meeting, situated at Sangamitta Mawatha, Kotahena. Thereafter they had proceeded to Bambalapitiya and attacked his office, Muzammil told The Island.
He, said that the same government that boldly claimed they will have no problems in winning the Colombo Municipal Council Election, has now resorted to brutality and thuggery in a desperate attempt to stifle the will of the people
The once calm and tranquil town of Negombo better known as ‘Little Rome’ is expected to be plagued with thuggery and violence in the run up to the October 8 Municipal Council election.
Although officially Negombo police do not agree with this theory, police sources on the basis of anonymity confirmed to The Sunday Leader that they are getting ready to deal with the situation. “Through first-hand experience we are predicting that there will be a blood bath during the pre and post election periods. We expect in-house fights – in the UPFA camp for preferential votes,” the sources said. Out of the three main political parties, the JVP has taken a complete back seat in Negombo. There was neither a red flag nor a poster to be seen. Even the Negombo voters with whom The Sunday Leader spoke with are not certain whether the JVP is contesting for the Negombo Municipal Council. Although it was not exactly the same with the UNP, one wonders whether they too have given up the battle well ahead of the election. While there were UNP posters pasted on the walls in the town center and even in the interior, the party did not seem to be as active as the UPFA. However UNP Chief Organiser for Negombo Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene is of the view that the UNP is neither silent nor has it taken a back seat, and is very active in organising the campaign. “We have put our most energetic team forward this time and they are getting ready to put up a good fight as the Negombo people are now fed up with thuggery politics,” Dr. Jayawardene told The Sunday Leader.
Proxy candidates are becoming a major issue in the upcoming Local Government elections, with four cases being reported, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE)said.
In Badulla, a candidate whose name was not on the nomination sheet is contesting using his father’s name, preferential number and photo. In Kotte a candidate named Ali Isman was doing propaganda work for his son, Asmir (contesting from the UPFA). Similar incidents were reported from Kotikawatte and Galkissa, Dehiwala, Executive Director of CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said. The
CaFFE Director also said that there had been 37 incidents of election violations reported, although there had been no major incidents of physical violence.
The leader of an independent group (reportedly a supporter of Sajith Premadasa whose nomination papers were not accepted by the main Opposition party) was attacked by UNP supporters on Thursday (15). Propaganda was also widespread with Ratnapura boasting many cutouts and posters, however upon appealing to the Elections Commissioner around 80 large cutouts were removed.
In the run-up to the LG polls, government propaganda hacks have swung into action to discredit him and his party but they lack credibility, UNP Colombo Mayoral candidate A. J. M. Muzammil says.
"Desperation has set in and the government is all out to avoid a crushing defeat in Colombo," Muzammil said yesterday.
He said the government had proved it did not look after the interests of the ordinary people through the forcible eviction of the urban poor and the illegal sale of land to foreigners. "People are discerning and they will not buy the government’s claim that the poor will not be removed from the city," he said.
The government had bulldozed scores of houses belonging to the poor and the middle classes in several places such as Slave Island and Wanathamulla and sold the land so cleared to some foreign companies.
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) of Sri Lanka is to launch election manifestos for two key Municipal Councils (MCs) holding polls on October 8.
The manifesto for one of the MCs, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council is to focus on building a people friendly city.
The party's mayoral candidate for the Council and former Mayor, Mrs. Sunethra Ranasinghe has said a proper administration had been put in place at the Council after taking over office in 2006.
Meanwhile, UNP's mayoral candidate for the Kandy Municipal Council Niranjan Wijeratne has said the election manifesto for the Council would be based on developing Kandy in to a modern city while safeguarding its rich heritage.
He has said emphasis would also be paid to building national unity by bringing all communities together.
Details : The main opposition United National Party (UNP) of Sri Lanka is to launch election manifestos for two key Municipal Councils (MCs) holding polls on October 8. <p>The manifesto for one of the MCs, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council is to focus on building a people friendly city. </p><p>The party's mayoral candidate for the Council and former Mayor, Mrs. Sunethra Ranasinghe has said a proper administration had been put in place at the Council after taking over office in 2006. </p><p>Meanwhile, UNP's mayoral candidate for the Kandy Municipal Council Niranjan Wijeratne has said the election manifesto for the Council would be based on developing Kandy in to a modern city while safeguarding its rich heritage. </p><p>He has said emphasis would also be paid to building national unity by bringing all communities together. </p><!--Chandric--><!---- End News Item --->
Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who yesterday pledged to re-organize the party at grassroots level within one year, warned that those who failed to carry out this duty would be replaced with new people.
Addressing a ceremony at its head quarters Sirikotha to mark the party’s 65th anniversary, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the party would exist irrespective of whether it won or lost elections.Winning or losing elections is not the criteria for the success of the party, he said.
He recalled that despite the belief by a majority that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga would rule this country for 20 years, they were proved wrong as the UNP managed to come into power in 2002. “Similar sentiments are expressed regarding President Mahinda Rajapaksa but the case would be the same with him as well,” he said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe also said all candidates contesting the upcoming local government elections would declare their assets on September 17. “We will work in an honest manner unlike our opponents,” he stressed.
Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said the UNP had not forgotten those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the party. Charging that the country was gradually moving towards a dictatorship, Mr. Jayasuriya said his party would not allow the Sri Lankan people to experience such an unfortunate situation.
Party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the party experienced difficult situations from its inception. He recalled that Former Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake also experienced difficulties in bringing all communities together to form the party. He said the unity among the party was of paramount importance. He said the party would be able to form a government if that unity was preserved. National Organizer Ravi Karunanayake also stressed for unity in the party stating that everyone including those who tried to make fellow members fallout were also members of this great family. UNP Co-Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa was not present at the event due to ill health and a message to the effect was read out at the ceremony.
The leadership crisis of the United National Party (UNP) has caused havoc, creating a chasm between the Wickremesinghe supporters and the reformists which some believe cannot be bridged. This mistrust and hate, between and for each other came to the fore, once again, in the nomination process for the Local Government elections due to be held October 8 -- and the turn of events has left many wondering whether the UNP can comfortably win its traditional strongholds, in particular the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), the Nuwara Eliya and Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia Municipal Councils.
In contrast to the aggressive campaigning by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidates, the UNP’s campaign has been lacklustre. The Asana Bala Mandala (electoral meetings) are deeply divided, and many of their members are angry about the nominations, while some of its most popular members are contesting from independent groups, after they were deprived of party nominations.
Although the UNP has not lost the Colombo, Nuwara-Eliya, Kandy and Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia Municipal Councils in recent times, many UNPers are uneasy over the party’s recent electoral performance where they have shrunk to around 22% of the votes cast. Added to this is a belief that an election cannot be won under Wickremesinghe’s leadership – a notion that has seeped into almost all Sri Lankan psyches, regardless of party affiliations.11-1
The confusion regarding the United National Party's (UNP) nomination lists for the forthcoming October 8 local government elections took another dramatic turn as Colombo District UNP MP Mohan Lal Grero threatened to act independently in Parliament, unless UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe resolved the issues with respect to the mayoral candidacy for the Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia Municipal Council. The UNP nominations board, in which Grero was not included, despite him being the organizer for Ratmalana, appointed Sunethra Ranasinghe as the mayoral candidate, breaching the UNP tradition of keeping the mayoral candidacy unannounced. "In the past, the person who got the most number of votes became the mayor, and if s/he is from Dehiwala the post of Deputy Mayor is given to the person who got the highest number of votes from Ratmalana, and vice versa. However this time it was not the case and my proposal to revert to the accepted system has been ignored. I feel embarrassed to face the candidates from Ratmalana who believed in me. I have given the party leader time till Tuesday and if my request is not heeded, I will act independently while staying in the party," Grero said. Meanwhile the UNP had to field several independent groups in addition to the party list for Kotte and Matara, as Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalists who were involved in the preparation of the list objected to the nomination of several Sajith Premadasa supporters. These names were omitted from the list despite the assurances given by senior members including Lakshman Kirielle and Tissa Attanayake that they will be included, party sources claim. In Kotte, an Independent Group under the 'Sword' symbol will contest the polls, as Chandima Nayanajith, who was a member of the Kotte Urban Council and seven other members of the 'Asana Bala Mandalaya' (Electoral Convention) were refused nominations after Ravi Karunanayake and Wijayadasa Rajapakshe did not approve of their nominations. An independent group comprising reformists who were refused nominations is also contesting in Matara.