Electoral Allegiance in Sri Lanka by Dilesh Jayanntha

By Dilesh Jayanntha

This is often the 1st specific comparative research of electorates in Sri Lanka due to the fact that 1947. Dilesh Jayanntha examines electoral allegiance in 3 contrasting constituencies--Sandville, Mirville and Jung Town--and demonstrates how patronage networks dependent at the start on wealth and afterward entry to and keep an eye on of kingdom associations made up our minds electoral allegiance. frequently the patronage community used to be congruent with caste. yet, as Jayanntha indicates, the place the patron-client tie minimize around the caste tie it was once the previous which proved decisive in determining electoral allegiance.

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They bought the raw material direct from the villagers for a pittance and processed it for sale at a good price. Many were also involved in rice ration book pawnbroking. They lent the poorer villagers money in return for their ration books, collected the rice and then, by cornering the market, resold it at highly inflated prices. Such activities gave an enterprising politician great scope for creating goodwill. In the part of the province described, the president of the local Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society (MPCS) from 1954 to 1956, broke into these trades.

A close bond thus developed between these Mudaliyar families and those of the lesser headmen; a bond which was strengthened over successive generations; a bond which was to provide the basis of support for candidates from the Mudaliyar families seeking election to national office after 1931. In Purville Korale, for instance, a close bond developed between the Foos and the Bous of Hamville. When Dee contested in 1947 and subsequently and his father (the zx-Mudaliyar), campaigned on his behalf, the Bous, who still retained lesser headmanships, were able to deliver whole blocs of votes to their former patrons.

The small landowner could by virtue of a headmanship (or links with the headman) influence 1,000 or more voters though, by virtue of his landholding and personal wealth alone, he would have been unable to have 24 Electoral allegiance in Sri Lanka influenced more than twenty to thirty or so voters. But as a headman he came under the patronage network of Korale-Mudaliyar Foo and so tended to support Dee against the Doctor. His role in this context will therefore be examined in the next chapter. But, even then, the influence of headmen was limited in the region of the large estates.

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