K. Velayudam, Sri Lankan politician, Died at 65

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Karuppaiah Velayudam, born on April 6, 1950 and passed away October 13, 2015.

He was a Sri Lankan trade unionist, politician and former state minister.

Karuppaiah started his trade union career as a grassroots level organizer for the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU), a trade union representing tea, rubber and other plantation workers.

The LJEWU is affiliated to the United National Party (UNP).

He held several positions at the LJEWU before being appointed its Director Workers Education in 1982, a position he held until 2002.

Karuppaiah was elected general-secretary of the union in 2003 at its 23rd Delegate Convention.

Karuppaiah became general-secretary of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), of which the LJEWU is a member, in 2005.

He became interim president of NTUF in 2008 before being elected president in October 2011 at its second congress.

Karuppaiah had been a member of Uva Provincial Council (UPC) since its creation in 1988.

Following the death of Percy Samaraweera he became the UNP’s chief ministerial candidate in Uva during the 1999 provincial council election but the UNP lost control of the council to the People’s Alliance.

Karuppaiah contested the 2001 parliamentary election as one of the United National Front’s (UNF) candidates in Badulla District.

He was elected and entered Parliament. Karuppaiah stood for re-election at the 2004 parliamentary election as one of the UNF’s candidates in Badulla District but failed to get elected after coming seventh amongst the UNF candidates.

Karuppaiah contested the 2004 provincial council election as one of the UNP’s candidates in Badulla District and was re-elected to the UPC.

He was re-elected at the 2009 provincial council election.

Karuppaiah contested the 2010 parliamentary election as one of the UNF’s candidates in Badulla District but again failed to get elected after coming third amongst the UNF candidates.

However, he re-entered Parliament on 8 August 2014 following the resignation of Harin Fernando.

After the 2015 presidential election, he was appointed State Minister of Plantation Industries by newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena.

Karuppaiah did not contest the 2015 parliamentary election but was instead placed on the United National Front for Good Governance’s (UNFGG) list of National List candidates.

However, after the election, he was not appointed to the National List.

K. Velayudam died at age 65 in October 2015.