The Delimitation Commission received numerous requests for retention of caste-based demarcations of electoral wards of the local authorities but they were not entertained, an official said.
Commission’s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told Daily Mirror that the delimitation of electoral wards of the local authorities- Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas- is in progress and the current number of them will be reduced from 5,092 to 2,800- 2,900. Also, he said the number of representatives would be reduced from 8,800 to 4,800.
Mr. Deshapriya, the former chairman of the Election Commission, said some wards had been created based on the caste identity of area people.
“In the reduction of the current number of wards in the delimitation process, the Commission received requests to retain some such wards directly identified with certain caste groups. We declined to entertain such requests,” he said.
Asked where he mostly identified identity politics based on caste factor, he said though the issue is more visible in the North and the East, it is seen all across the country. “We find it everywhere, more or less,” he said.
Asked about public participation in the delimitation process, he said he received representations mainly from the Eastern Province.
He said there is a lack of enthusiasm even among the political parties to send proposals to be considered in carving outwards with new boundaries.
“People are concerned only about elections, not about delimitation. But, delimitation is key to free and fair elections,” he said.(Kelum Bandara)
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