‘Relatives of Samurdhi, Agri. Research Officers contesting polls’ | Page 2 | Daily News

‘Relatives of Samurdhi, Agri. Research Officers contesting polls’

The UNP Chief Organizer for the Pelmadulla Electorate and Deputy Minister of Disaster Management, Dunesh Gankanda yesterday, complained to the Elections Commission that relatives of Samurdhi and Agriculture Research Officers were contesting for the upcoming polls. He pointed out that this had resulted in government officers directly participating in campaign activities on many occasions, violating the conditions of a free and fair election.

The minister addressed the media having made the complaint to the Commission at Rajagiriya.

“Certain government officials have put forward their wives, brothers or close relatives and are exerting pressure on the voters in their areas. Samurdhi beneficiaries who depend on these government officials are especially vulnerable to these threats,” he said.

He highlighted an example of the Pelmadulla Pradeshiya Sabha which consisted of 21 divisions, where five candidates are relatives of Samurdhi officers or Economic Development Officers. ‘These officers have threatened the people that they would withhold their Samurdhi benefits if they did not vote for their relatives,” said the minister.

He added that these five candidates belonged to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna or the Pohottuwa Party.

He further informed the media that the Chairman of the Elections Commission had informed them that they had taken steps to issue a circular for government servants on how to act in such circumstances. Gankanda had requested that the Elections Commission decree that if a relative of a government servant was contesting for the election within the same division, that the government officer be transferred to another division and that transfer be effective for the next four years.

The Chairman of the Elections Commission had assured Gankanda that he would discuss his proposal at a meeting to be held with the Elections Commissioners today (3).


 

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