More than 50,000 Up Country Tamils from Badulla and Moneregala districts in Uva Provice were not able to cast their votes in the Provincial Council elections held on Saturday, say Upcountry Tamil activists in Badulla. The narrow victory of UPFA in Badulla district is a manipulated victory, they said. The ruling UPFA of Mahinda Rajapaksa has won the elections in Badulla district polling 11,000 votes more than the opposition UNP.
The UPFA received 209,056 votes in Badulla district while the main opposition United National Party (UNP) secured 197,708 votes.
The voters are given only a half day leave to travel and take part in the elections in their native provinces. But, it takes more than 10 hours to travel to Badulla from major cities in the island where more than 50,000 Upcountry Tamil youth who are employed in restaurants and other businesses.
Upcountry Tamil voters from the two districts were particularly affected by this discriminatory arrangement, Tamil political activists in Badulla said.
In the meantime, civil sources in Badulla said that the UPFA government had also timed drought relief of 2,500 rupees per family with the elections to woo the voters. Such relief is yet to reach the affected people in other provinces.
Two million people, belonging to more than 575,000 families have been hit by the drought in the whole island. 800,000 of the affected people are from the Northern and Eastern provinces.