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By Dilesh Jayanntha

This can be the 1st exact comparative research of electorates in Sri Lanka when you consider that 1947. Dilesh Jayanntha examines electoral allegiance in 3 contrasting constituencies--Sandville, Mirville and Jung Town--and demonstrates how patronage networks dependent at the beginning on wealth and afterward entry to and regulate of nation associations made up our minds electoral allegiance. usually 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 used to be the previous which proved decisive in determining electoral allegiance.

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Certain Mudaliyar families traditionally patronized certain village elite families in distributing headmanships. The Mudaliyar would then tactfully permit his headmen to use their positions to accumulate wealth. In the coastal areas the illicit blasting of coral, removal of sea sand (for cement) and the dynamiting offish were commonplace. In the agricultural interior, underestimation of the Huwandiram-Rent on the paddy crop was popular. Paddy was cultivated over nearly 5,000 acres of the electorate and was therefore a significant crop.

The small landowner's monopolistic control over his clients was less than that of the fish mudalali and his political influence correspondingly more limited. The small landowner, where he was influential, was influential by virtue of his control of credit and capital or, more significantly, the local headmanships. If not the headman, he was almost invariably closely related to him. As such, he had access to the local administration and this gave him considerable scope for building up a clientele in the area.

22 24 26 SLNA 26/634. SLNA 26/634. SLNA 26/513. 23 25 27 GOC (1935), paragraph 35. SLNA 26/504. 28 Ibid. SLNA 26/532. 29 Ibid. Bluville 1947-1959 41 To sum up so far, the lesser headman's office gave him wide-ranging powers and duties. He was generally the most influential man in the locality by virtue of this office and also because of his private wealth, which was large by village standards. He could use this office to build up, consolidate and sustain a following for himself in the village. This was done through a mixture of intimidation and favouritism.

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