March 10: Red Letter Day for Vakarai
VAKARAI: The sleepy coastal town of Vakarai is all set for
Monday's Local Government election after a lapse of 17 years, to elect
their own representatives to the Koralaipattu North Pradeshiya Sabha.
Authorities say that elections were last held in Vakarai in 1991 and
since then people of the area has never been part of the election
Vakarai became a focal point in the on going conflict when the
Security Forces liberated a population of 40,000 (kept as a human shield
by the LTTE), with zero casualties.
The area which was under LTTE tyranny close to two decades, was
liberated by the Security Forces in January 2007.
Today, Vakarai and the adjoining areas are slowly coming back to
normality, and the impending elections are expected to boost the
confidence of the people with their own representatives being elected to
address their grievances.
The Koralaipattu North PS has 12,419 registered voters and is
expected to appoint 11 members to the Pradeshiya Sabha. Authorities say
that they have made special arrangements for the displaced to cast
Election campaigning has been largely confined to door to door and
pocket meetings, with four political parties and one independent group
in the fray. Political parties such as EDF (Plough), UPFA (Betel Leaf),
JSP (Coconut), TMVP (Boat) and EPRLF, EPDP, PLOTE coalition (Apple) are
on the campaign trail to seek power in the PS.
According to authorities all arrangements have been made to conduct a
free and fair poll. Election authorities have set up 16 polling stations
and police have drawn up an elaborate security plan.
According to, Prabha Yogarajah (EPDP) the election is all about
boosting people's morale and inculcating confidence in the democratic
process with a vibrant civil administrative structure.
S. Periyamrasah of the TMVP too is in agreement with the above
sentiments and also the need to expedite development. According to him
the need of the hour is upgrading infrastructure and developing income
earning opportunities. According to police, a significant feature in the
mini poll is the lack of violence with only a few complaints received so
far with the majority of them are minor.
For the people in the area elections are a novel experience and their
expectations are mainly based on uplifting living standards. Basic
facilities such as health, education, transport and infrastructure with
viable income earning opportunities in a peaceful environment are the
order of the day for them.