Madhumadawa Aravinda endorses Govt vision
The Jathika Hela Urumaya Gampaha district organiser Madhumadawa
Aravinda had decided to defy his party, following the JHU's decision
last week to quit their Ministries and distance itself from the
Government but remain within the UPFA.
The popular singer and one- time Municipal Councillor said the
decision of the JHU did not represent the majority view, but came rather
as a unilateral dictat by Ven. Athuraliye Rathana thera which in his
opinion will destroy the political careers of popular JHU leaders.
Explaining his future course of action, Aravinda said he would continue
to support the Government and was also eagerly waiting to play a role in
a future campaign headed by the Defence Secretary.
Excerpts of the interview: The Jathika Hela Urumaya is a respected
political party. During the last few months, I felt the party was being
dragged on a different track by the Pivituru Hetak program by Ven.
Athuraliye Rathana thera.
The reason behind this shift is Ven. Rathana thera. The thera had
reservations about his vote base in Gampaha with the UPFA. All these
past months, until recently he hardly took part in any activity of
national interest. He knew, as a result he was losing his base in
Gampaha. It was a result of his own inaction.
When the issues of forced religious conversions, Halaal and extremist
Islamic forces were brewing all over the country, nothing was heard from
Ven. Rathana thera. He was silent. But all of a sudden he has risen and
shouting at the top of his voice about the abolition of the Executive
Presidency. This, I say is strange behavior.
Due to Ven. Rathana thera's silence, many alternative forces such as
civil society groups and Buddhist groups emerged to counter the looming
threat to Buddhism. The JHU should have been in the forefront but that
leadership was noticeably lacking from Ven. Thera when it was needed
The Thera stepped down as the head of Divulapitiya Development
Committee and made a massive media showdown.
He could have stepped down but remained with the Government and
conveyed his displeasure to the party leaders. Instead he wanted to be a
The Thera is famous for coming out with popular slogans at the 'right
time'. He did this during the Mavil Aru issue. Now his so-called
populist slogan is the abolition of the Executive Presidency.
He wants a change within 24 hours. I see this as an attempt to win
back his vote base. Pivithuru Hetak was created when we got wind of the
next election. Since he has lost his UPFA votes, he could dream of
attracting some of the UNP votes now.
Many of my well wishers question as to why I did not attend the
Pivithuru Hetak convention and JHU's eleventh convention. I am the
Gampaha district JHU organiser.
I did my part during the days when it was Sihala Urumaya and
contributed to the Sihala Rawaya and Sinhala Veera Vidana. I used to
sing, recite poems at the JHU conventions and had my heart and soul to
organise walks for the party.
I heard that Ven. Rathana thera has put conditions that if my speech
at the convention is allowed, he will boycott the event. He had also
demanded my removal from the Party's Central Committee.
Party members, especially Buddhist monks sympathised with my position
and said this was a one off incident and that bigger personalities like
Anagarika Dharmapala too had to face similar treatment.
I remember that many party stalwarts left the JHU for the way
Ven.Rathana thera conducted himself, notable among these people are
Tilak Karunaratne, S.L.Gunasekera, former IGP Kotakadeniya, and as many
as about ten dedicated Bhikkus. The number of laymen who left the party,
disheartened at his actions are even more.
Members of our party did not expect a 'bottle' or lunch packet in
return for their loyalty. They funded their own lunch and were generous
towards party activities. I have a lot of respect for JHU leaders like
Patali Champika Ranawaka, Udaya Gammanpila and Nishanha Warnasinghe.
They have not pilfered public property and do not have corruption
charges against them.
I have never witnessed such dedication. Former Minister Ranawaka had
a long and highly successful career before him. He could have become the
Prime Minister of this country one day. All that was snatched away due
to one person's actions.
Ven.Rathana thera who was in a state of inaction a year ago, has
suddenly sprung into action. It was following his realisation that an
election is round the corner and he needs to be conscious of votes.
The leader who gave leadership to eliminate a ruthless terrorist
organisation, that was once thought to be invincible, has been labelled
a cheat. The Thera paved his exit from the UPFA by his raucous talking.
There is a way to talk to your leaders even of the worst kind.
We need a future plan of action, before we decide to walk out of the
Government. I cannot begin to think how we camp up with TNA, SLMC and
the likes of Mano Ganeshan, abandoning a Government which defeated the
Pivithuru Hetak had very noble objectives at first, such as farming
without poison ( Wasa Wisa Nethi Govithenak), etc. How it suddenly took
a political twist, I cannot fathom.
A father would have blessed his son's progress, he will never destroy
their future. In 1997, no one knew who Patali Champika was but today,
all would endorse that he is a leader sans corruption. This action by
Ven.Rathana thera would jeopardize Patali's and other promising JHU
leaders political career.
I agree that there may be issues within the Government, allegations
of bribery and corruption, but the UPFA needs a voice to represent the
Sinhalese majority - to talk and work on behalf of them. I strongly
believe that we must remain with the Government.
We were the force within the Government that successfully rose
against the Casino Act.
I met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya
Rajapaksa after my decision to support the Government and not to align
myself with the JHU in its recent resolve. The President and the Defence
Secretary did not reproach my leaders for their actions but said JHU was
the party that helped the Government to shine among people. I was
expecting them to shout.
They understood how hard it was for me to walk out of my party. I
explained how much I respected former Minister Ranawaka and Udaya
Gammanpila and that I will never utter a word against their decision to
join Ven.Rathana thera.
Former Minister Champika left his official residence and moved into a
rented house. We did not accumulate wealth as corrupt politicians.
Only Ven.Rathana thera has a luxury temple on a 3.5 acre land
surrounded by a lake. It serves as the office of the Pivithuru Hetak
The JHU Ministers only dedicated their time to work not to make
This is a Sinhala country. But any minority community can live here
peacefully, attempts to bring in new sub-cultures, religious or
otherwise, will not be tolerated. JHU stood against such forces like
Wahhabism, etc and I will continue to tread that path.
There is talk now that the Defence Secretary will enter politics
someday and I am waiting till that day to join his campaign.