By Raisa Wickrematunge
CAFFE Director Keerthi Tennekone said that there was evidence of well-planned rigging in the concluded local government elections.
The UPFA prevailed overall by a comfortable majority.
However Tennekone charged that some areas, like Kattankudy showed evidence of rigging due to unusually high voter turnout. One example was Millathmahalir Vidyalaya, where there was a female polling booth. 731 people were registered to vote in this area. Of that, 706 people had voted, showing a voter turnout of approximately 97%.
Tennekone said Kattankudy had always had a problem with identity cards.
A temporary ID card programme had been carried out by CAFFE in the area. “Many people don’t even have ID cards down there. That alone tells the story,” Tennekone said.
He added that polling booths in Baduria Vidyalaya in Batticaloa and Zaviya Vidyalaya showed similarly high turnout.
“People went inside and voted freely. There was no check to see if the real person is coming to vote,” Tennekone observed.
The problem was compounded by the fact that in some areas the opposition parties had no polling agents. “Some of the calculations of voter turnout increased in two hours.
“If the main opposition party can’t put up polling agents, how can they win an election?” he queried.
He said he did not know the reason behind this failure, although he acknowledged there was some pressure on certain political parties.