Elections Department officials are looking into an alleged illegal propaganda campaign being conducted by Colombo District United National Party (UNP) candidate S.M. Marikkar.
The Nation learns that some voters in the Colombo District have been subjected to a promotion being conducted by a private mobile service provider where subscribers are offered a Rs.40 reload if they answered a question correctly regarding candidate Marikkar’s preference number.
When contacted, officials at the Department of Elections confirmed they would be looking into the alleged illegal campaign.
According to those who complained, a subscriber registered in Colombo who activates the service provider’s ‘loan service’ is made to listen to a recording by the Colombo District candidate where they are given two options regarding his preference number. They said the ‘correct’ option was quite obvious. When correctly answered, a reload of Rs.40 is sent to the subscriber’s phone.
The Nation also contacted Colombo District UNP candidate S.M. Marikkar over the allegations. He said he would have to consult members of his campaign team to verify if such a program was indeed being conducted. Though he promised to contact The Nation after verifying it, a reply had not been received at the time this edition went to press. Attempts were also made to contact the mobile service provider in question to obtain their side of the story. However, we were told that the two spokespersons of the company were both currently overseas and as such, the company could not make an official statement at this time.