Talawakele-Lindula UC chairman and five others pledge support to UNP | Sunday Observer

Talawakele-Lindula UC chairman and five others pledge support to UNP

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presents the UNP membership card to Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council Chairman Ashoka Sepala who obtained the UNP membership. UNP National Organiser and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake looks on.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presents the UNP membership card to Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council Chairman Ashoka Sepala who obtained the UNP membership. UNP National Organiser and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake looks on.

Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council Chairman Ashoka Sepala along with another five Council members joined the UNP on Tuesday (March 12) and pledged their full support for the UNP’s victory at future elections. At the last Local Government elections, an independent group led by Ashoka Sepala contested the Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council and captured power. He said he was a full-fledged SLFPer right from the start and had later joined the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Explaining the reasons for his joining the UNP, Sepala said in the political set up of the SLFP and SLPP, upcoming young politicians are not given the opportunity to come forward and that they are always sidelined by the party seniors in the district to accommodate their family members in politics. He said this was the key reason for him and several other council members to join the UNP and make the Talawakele- Lindula Urban Council a UNP dominated Council.

Ashoka Sepala told the Sunday Observer that his decision to join the UNP was taken after much pain of mind and consideration as he was a hardcore SLFPer. “I entered active politics in 2002 contesting the Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council. During nearly 18 years of my political career, I have made many sacrifices for the sake of the SLFP. Actually, I always acted against the UNP and won victory for the SLFP.

At the last Local Government Election, an independent group led by me contested and captured the power of the Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council. However, it is very obvious in the political set up of the SLFP and SLPP, upcoming young politicians are not given the opportunity to come forward but always sidelined by party seniors in the district to accommodate their own family members in politics.

That is why I along with several other council members decided to join the UNP and engage in future politics. We would do our utmost to lead the UNP to a landslide victory in the Nuwara Eliya district. From today, the Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council would function as a UNP led Council.

Sepala said he was originally a SLFPer and later joined the SLPP with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. From 2015 until the recently held Local Government Elections, it was the Local Government representatives who made many sacrifices to strengthen the Mahinda Rajapaksa camp. We never left him and right through we remained with him. Unlike the UNP, the SLFP and SLPP have family politics and those politicians always try to bring their family members into politics.

When such attempts are made in districts, there is no opportunity for emerging young politicians to come forward.

When all political parties contested Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council, we contested as an independent group and captured power. After, we secured victory, we wanted to join the SLPP. However, the SLPP district leader didn’t like that as he could not accommodate his family in the leadership. We have a lot of confidence in the Prime Minister and UNP National Organiser Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake. Minister Dissanayake always helps emerging politicians in the district to come forward. Therefore, many young politicians have placed confidence in him and joined the UNP. That is why six Council members of the Talawakele-Lindula Urban Council including me decided to join the UNP and continue in politics. In addition to us, three more Council members of the Walapane, Ambagamuwa and Agarapathana Pradeshiya Sabhas have also obtained UNP membership.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a ceremony at the Parliament complex to give membership to six Council members and a large number of their supporters that today was a significant day because the UNP could create a strong political movement in the Talawakele area under the leadership of Ashoka Sepala. The Premier called upon young politicians to join the UNP and continue their future politics. This Government didn’t make the Rupavahini the instrument of its propaganda campaign.

Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said Asoka Sepala had to face a number of difficulties from the Pohottuwa. The powerful political bigwigs of the Pohottuwa didn’t give him the opportunity to be a rising politician. The Government has planned to launch a massive development drive in the Nuwara Eliya town. Talawakele was benefited by the Upper Kothmale Project.

We hope to make Nuwara Eliya a well planned town with modern amenities. We would also formulate a master plan to develop Talawakele . The Prime Minister has given the opportunity to a number of youth leaders to come forward. Likewise, we have provided an opportunity to emerging young politicians in Nuwara Eliya to play an active role in politics under the UNP flag.

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Lindula UC Chairman in child abduction case

In June last year Lindula UC Chairman Asoka Sepala who recently pledged his support to the United National Party (UNP) found himself embroiled in a child abduction controversy which led to his arrest at the time. Sepala and several other suspects were accused of the abduction and possible trafficking of two minors.

The case first came to light when on June 12, 2017 a man visited the Agarapathana Police to complain that his wife along with his five-year-old daughter had gone missing from their home in the Portmore Estate, Agarapathana. Eventually, though there was no information on the mother of the children and the daughter, a tip-off by the Children and Women’s Bureau led the Police to the three-year-old son who was being kept at the Bogahawatta temple in the Pathana area. Though the child was later handed over to the father, the Police were unable to uncover evidence as to who had left the child there or any further details surrounding the bizarre situation. As the father repeatedly attempted to discover his wife and missing child, she finally resurfaced in June 2018 when the case was called before courts with the help of a villager, where she once grew up in. It was her statement that eventually implicated Asoka Sepala and the rest leading to their arrest along with the discovery of the missing child.

Giving a damning statement, the woman claimed she had been taken to Sepala by a third party known to her with the promise of employment abroad. She said that Sepala had not only promised to send her abroad but also that he would provide her with a three-wheeler on her return. The agreement was that during her absence Sepala would take care of her children. According to her she was brought to Colombo where a passport was made for her but her dream to work abroad never materialised.

Instead, she claimed, she was held at various places, and put to work in houses as a maidservant. She claims she had no knowledge as to what became of her children. A couple from Matara claiming to have adopted the five-year-old girl presented themselves at the Talawakelle police with the child. According to the lawyer representing the husband of the child Attorney at Law Sinharaja Mohanarajan no legal process had been carried out when the child was handed over to this couple. (MB) 

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