Fisticuffs and heated arguments broke out among UPFA heavyweights and their supporters at Colombo's counting centre on Thursday night.
Police squads were deployed to ensure that peace was maintained as final preference votes were being counted. The tussle was among ex-ministers Rohitha Bogollagama, Susil Premjayantha, A.H.M. Fowzie, Gamini Lokuge after they found that their names were at the low end of the preference vote list.
|The scene outside the D.S. Senanayake College counting centre: the first frame shows security forces rushing to restore order, the second shows Minister Premajayantha leaving the centre after assuring his victory while the third shows Duminda Silva with his supporters. Pix by Gemunu Wellage and Saman Kariyawasam
UPFA General Secretary Premajayantha had been one of the first candidates to ask for a recount. He was reportedly not among those elected in the first count or fighting for the last place with Mr. Lokuge while Mr. Fowzie was not among those elected.
Defeated candidate Chandana Kathriarachchi told the Sunday Times that his name was sixth in the list after the first count and he was suddenly dropped to the 11th position after some of the ex-ministers wanted several recounts.
"Officials were counting several times and they were getting different figures. My preference vote count was not changing, but the votes of several others were changing and was surpassing my figure, he said.
Mr. Kathriarachchi ended up with 46,289 votes - 3,461 votes below Gamini Lokuge who was last of the UPFA members to be elected.
Mr. Bogollagama who received 45,605 votes had also asked for a recount in some of the booths and objections had been raised by Duminda Silva who was already placed second on the list. The two had a heated argument over the issue.
Former Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena told the Sunday Times that there were several counts and at the end of each count, the officials arrived at different figures, causing uneasiness among the candidates.
"It took about five hours for the officials to come out with a final figure," he said.
Meanwhile a close associate of UPFA candidate Azad Sally who ended up third from the bottom with 14,931 votes, claimed one of the former ministers was trailing far behind him and suddenly he had surpassed him in the preference vote after the recount.
Eyewitnesses said that supporters of the key candidates exchanged blows prompting the police and the STF to intervene.
Former Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda who eventually came 14th on the list did not come for the count.
The lists of the defeated candidates of the UPFA and the UNP in the Colombo district are as follows:
Chandana Kathriarachchi - 46,289,Rohitha Bogollagama - 45,605,Gamini Thilakasiri - 34,383,Milinda Moragoda - 24,296,Dhanasiri Amaratunge - 24,470,Mahesh Almeida - 23,893,Sudharman Radaliyagoda - 19,275,Sumith Vijayamuni de Soysa - 18,252,H. Rohanadheera - 16,654,Azad Sally - 14,931,P. Radha Krishnan - 9,064,M. Ravindran - 4,210
L. S. Manju Sri Arangala - 38,134,A. J. M. Muzammil - 36,669,Kumara Gurubaran - 34,205,M. Maharoof - 32,363,Mohamed Shafeek Rajabdeen 30,875,Niroshan Padukka - 29,266,Jayantha de Silva - 23,480,Senaka Damayantha de Silva - 22,000,Sunethra Ranasinghe - 20,653,Karunasena Kodituwakku - 17,804,Shiral Lakthilake - 15,633,Srinath Perera - 12,705,Susil Kindelpitiya - 5,963,Upul Siri Weerasinghe - 5,058