UPFA constituent, the National Freedom Front (NFF) is on a collision course with Trincomalee-based UPFA leaders over a spate of attacks on NFF offices.A senior NFF spokesman yesterday told The Island that their campaign was on track in spite of ongoing efforts to discourage those contesting on the NFF ticket. Asked whether the NFF move could undermine the UPFA bid to regain the Eastern Provincial Council, the spokesman said that there wouldn’t have been any issue if the UPFA accommodated one NFF nominee on its Trincomalee list. Even after UPFA constituent, SLMC decided to go on its own in the East, the UPFA declined to accommodate a NFF nominee in its Trincomalee list, the official said.
The NFF claimed that the UPFA didn’t want to accommodate former JVP MP Jayantha Wijesekera on its list as he could have easily topped the Trincomalee district preference votes. As the only UPFA MP to represent Trincomalee from 2004 to 2010, he could have easily played a pivotal role in the campaign, he said. Unfortunately, those UPFA bigwigs in Trincomalee strongly opposed Wijesekera’s inclusion in the list, he said.
The NFF alleged that local UPFA heavyweights had unleashed goons on NFF political offices in the Trincomalee districts.
Wijesekera, who leads NFF contestants in Trincomalee, said that UPFA thugs had so far attacked five political offices in Kantale and adjoining areas. Kantale police confirmed that complaints were received from NFF.
However, the NFF fielded a candidate each in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kegalle, Ratnapura and Digamadulla electoral districts on the UPFA ticket. The NFF didn’t field a candidate in Batticaloa.
The Socialist Alliance (SA) has alleged that the forthcoming election to the Eastern Provincial Council could jeopardize the post-war national reconciliation process.
The SA comprises UPFA constituents, CPSL, Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Democratic Left Front (DLF).
In a hard hitting letter, Ministers, Gunasekera, Prof. Tissa Vitharana (LSSP) and Vasudeva Nanayakkara (DLF) have told UPFA General Secretary, Petroleum Minister Susil Premjayanth that the SA has been compelled to go it alone as it has been deprived of an opportunity to field candidates on the UPFA ticket. They have reminded Minister Premjayanth that left parties were denied a chance to contest the May 2008 PC polls in the East as well on the UPFA ticket.
The SA will contest under the Lamp symbol which once belonged to the late Vijaya Kumaratunga’s party.
By Shamindra Ferdinando