Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 19 July 2015





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Clergy in politics:

Bhikkhus with a vision should enter politics - Wijemuni, Jana Setha Peramuna

Accusing the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), now contesting under the 'Bodu Jana Peramuna' flag for deceiving him, controversial personality, Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni said only Bhikkus with a vision and discipline should become parliamentarians not those who crave for power.

Wijitha Rohana Wijemuni
Pic: Ruwan de Silva

Wijemuni, the naval rating is remembered by many for his assault on Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on July 30, 1987 at the President's House, Colombo. He later became a political activist and a well-known astrologer and is contesting the General Elections under the 'Jana Setha Peramuna'.

"They BBS promised to make me the leader of the Gampaha District team but changed the decision overnight for the benefit of a few.

"They will not win seats. So I am not worried about them," Wijemuni told the Sunday Observer.


Q: You publicly stated that you are contesting from the 'Bodu Jana Peramuna'. But currently you are conducting your campaign under the 'Jana Setha Peramuna'. Is it true that you had disagreements with the Bodu Jana Peramuna' lead by the Bodu Bala Sena'?

The Bodu Bala Sena deceived me. Following discussions with the BBS, I was given the responsibility of their Gampaha district team and they promised to give me the leadership of the team. They even asked me to fill up the nomination list for Gampaha.

They had only eight names and through a simple advertisement on my Facebook profile, I managed to attract qualified people to be included in the nomination list.

With the complete list, including my name as the leader, I went to the BBS head-office at an auspicious time.

The one in charge of receiving nomination lists said that just the previous day the Central Committee took a decision to make it compulsory for Bhikkus to lead district teams and I cannot be the leader of the Gampaha District team.

A policy decision was taken earlier that Bhikkus will not be allowed to contest. I inquired from General Secretary, Galagoda Atthe Gnanasara Thera over the phone about the confusing statement.

It was a change of policy decision taken overnight. But today one could clearly see not all teams are led by Bhikkus.

For example, BBS Executive Committee member is leading the Gampaha District team. It was evident that all the changes they made were to satisfy their favourites and they made false promises to me and pushed me away.

Q: What went wrong?

I heavily criticised former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the BBS media briefing held two weeks ago with BBS General Secretary, National Organiser and Executive Committee member Dilantha Withanage in attendance. I vehemently said that I oppose splitting the country and heavily criticised former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a failed leader. I believe they never liked it, though I spoke the truth.

Q: There are several other political groups with a Sinhala Buddhist base. Why did you choose the BBS?

Galagoda Atthe Gnanasara Thera told me about the new approach they are to take in the General Elections. I agreed to his request to join as a candidate. I led a group of my own for more than a decade that stood firm for social and cultural rights of Sinhala Buddhists. I agreed with BBS, based on the principles I already believed in.

The contribution to safeguard Buddhism by the other political parties is not satisfactory compared to the long years of their presence in politics. I thought BBS will have a new approach. It was clear that they too are a part of dirty politics and are not here to serve the country.

Q: Do you agree on Bhikkus entering politics? A significant number of Sinhala Buddhists do not agree.

Not all Bhikkus. But those who have a vision, discipline and a voice strong enough to make a change must take their place in the country's legislature.



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