faces in Sri Lanka's 13th parliament
Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero and Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thero
arriving in parliament
Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Dayasiri Jayasekera ó two more
newcomers in parliament
of the monks from JHU caught in the controversy
Matale District MP
District newly elected MP Thalatha Athukorale
new legislature may not be off to a good start, but diversely
constituted as it is, the 13th parliament of Sri Lanka did not lack
fresh faces and new aspirations.
Viraj Kariyawasam is the one of the youngest legislators to enter
parliament. Representing Kurunegala, Kariyawasam is a graduate and was
the first secretary of the National Youth Front (NYF), the youth wing of
parliament is a representation of a multitude of hues. Therefore, it
would be a political challenge both for the government and the
opposition to muster a collective voice on issues. I think it is not an
obstacle but a challenge," said the young MP.
also wished for people friendly polices and an opportunity for
opposition legislators too to participate in the development goals of a
you are in opposition, you are relegated to the backseats with nothing
constructive to do with regard to pursuing a development agenda. I wish
that could change," he noted.
for Sujatha Alahakoon, the JVP's Matale District member, it is a huge
political dream come true. "Not the fact that I am in parliament,
but the fact that the party has come so far in national politics."
former principal of Pushpadana Balika Vidyalaya, Kandy, Alahakoon left
her career and dedicated herself to a fulltime career in politics.
"I have been with young people as a teacher. I know what they
desire. These conventional parties have been tried many times and they
have failed to deliver. The JVP has the commitment and the ability to do
it," she said with conviction.
of the most renowned Buddhist monks, Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero was
next in expressing political ambition. The Ven. Thero said that the
Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) monks have been subjected to a lot of
harassment, intimidation and mental agony over their decision to enter
are here to try and change the course of this nation. We stand for an
undivided country, for supremacy of the people and the country's
sovereignty. We were misunderstood, but we will try to create the
promised dharmarajya - illusive it may sound to the people, given the
bad politics and policies in the country," said the Thero.
Sithamparanathan is another first timer in parliament. Hailing from the
northern peninsula, she has been instrumental in organising the Pongu
Thamil celebrations in pursuance of the recognition of Tamil nationhood.
Lanka is a mosaic of people and we have much to contribute. The TNA is
here today with an enhanced number to prove that we have aspirations of
our own and to show that we speak in one voice," she said.
her debut in the legislature in 2004 was Thalatha Athukorale, the
youngest sibling of former civil aviation minister and assistant leader
of the UNP, the late Gamini Athukorale.
her case, it is largely a matter of following in her much-loved
brother's footsteps. "I had no political ambitions, but since he
left us, it was incumbent upon me to try and help the people that he
served so well. I am not even convinced that I can match his prowess,
but I am going to try," said a beaming Athukorale, a lawyer who has
now committed herself to fulltime politics.
Alagiyawanna, the PA Gampaha District member is another first timer. A
former minister of the Western Provincial Council, he was appointed as a
deputy minister of transport by President Kumaratunga.
UPFA is a new political force, one that is going to create a new
political culture in Sri Lanka. We will be committed to finding a
lasting and honourable peace and this parliament holds the key to
it," he said adding that pledges made to the public should be
fulfilled soon so that public faith would not be destroyed.
promised much to the people, and we should begin to deliver. Besides the
benefits promised for the improvement of individual economies, we also
must look at issues like abolishing the executive presidency which has
been the bane of this country and the swift altering of the flawed
electoral system," he said.
Kathaluwe Rathanaseeha Thero is the monk who has triggered off the
biggest political controversy during the past week. The monk was
reportedly abducted and then brought to the House to lend support to the
UPFA candidate for the post of speaker, D.E.W. Gunasekera.
to The Sunday Leader, Ven. Rathanaseeha said that there was an obvious
division within the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which is defeating the
desire for the creation of a dharmarajya.
said that he had no political ambitions except to see the country well
popular monk who has entered parliament is Ven. Kolonnawe Sri Sumangala
Thero. The Ven. monk represents Gampaha District and is famous for his
sermons that teach family values.
the demise of Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thero, a huge void was created.
People of this country are starved for spiritual guidance and the rulers
have been offering little to the people in this area. With the passing
away of the revered monk, we decided that it is time that other monks
too followed the hollowed path and at least made an attempt to create a
righteous society. That's why I am here, we are here," said the
JVP candidate who contested for the first time and polled the third
highest preference votes in
Colombo District is Lakshman Nipunaarachchi.
feels that the new parliament is a 'political challenge' and one that
the UPFA gladly welcomes.
are in government for the first time in large numbers with sufficient
political clout. In addition to that, we are in a multi party coalition
to pursue an agenda like no other. It is truly a happy challenge, and
one a party like the JVP would take pleasure in accepting.
said that the two conventional political parties have failed to serve
the masses and hence the presence of a revolutionary and zestful party
like the JVP within its folds might strengthen the PA, which would have
otherwise taken a more lukewarm political approach to issues at hand.
is largely a pro-JVP vote this time and we will show that the JVP is
truly committed to serving the people, as we professed to do when
entering politics," he said.
the 13th parliament being a collective of the young and the old,
representing diverse political opinions and ethnic denominations, only
time would tell whether they have been successful in achieving their
objectives. It is also hoped that they would have the political maturity
to see through many a storm that might brew in the tumultuous sea of Sri
may be wrong, but sometimes, just sometimes, I feel that a number of our
law makers have been accidentally left behind by a touring circus group.
Especially, so when they proceed in a sort of stampede unsurpassed even
by that admirable show stopper on Lion King, to place their ample
posteriors on a tiny ballot box. My dear, if that ballot box could only
talk it would sniff in disgust and say 'phaugh.' Meanwhile, I am told
reliably, that some of the voters were becoming increasingly confused in
this melee of ballot boxes and bums. They were turning this way and that
trying to work out into which crack their folded ballot paper should be
if it isn't the JHU playing dress up. All decked out in an old sari
draped like a toga, blind folded, with a sword in one hand and the
balance of justice in the other. Who would have thought that your little
coup would backfire on you. I mean to say old chum, the audacity of you
and your staff. To whisk away two yellow robes to a secret location and
bring them back to the House covered in shrouds (not the Turin we hope)
to surreptitiously cast a vote for you. Naughty, naughty.
these bally monks darling. The aspect that intrigues me most in the
whole hakgedi story, is the fate of those five rupee lunches at the
canteen. Will they? Won't they? I mean to say, as far as I know, and my
knowledge of religious observances is as good as your knowledge of good
governance, monks have to walk the streets with a mendicon's bowl. Are
they allowed, I wonder, to purchase, barter, engage in trade etc., even
if it were only for a consideration of five rupees? As you so astutely
may be able to sense, the debates confronting the House in the near
future will prove extremely interesting.
law makers of this great and victorious Sinhala Buddhist nation be seen
hurling vile abuse, files, bananas, books, paper balls etc., at yellow
robed members of the Buddhist clergy?
Wee Jay Moo get a hair cut? Should the new Pee Em drop his red shawl and
wear a blue one? And while the House is debating these highly sensitive
and compelling issues, the people might as well just mosey on back to
their mud huts and wait for the promised land. From all reports this
slight parliamentary mishap hasn't phased you one jot. You, I am
informed, proceed to keep both your chins up. That's the spirit. Your
GenSec Siri even proclaiming that this will not cause any obstacle to
the functions of the UPFA government. Au contraire some experts beg to
differ. They say your course will be reminiscent of a kindergarten
then anything is possible by your Goebbelsian media sycophants. Anyone
who can turn a slight edge of less than 50% of a vote and less seats in
the House than when you were in opposition and turn it into a landslide
election victory, is remarkable at many levels. The levels may be low
and devious, but what the heck. Besides, if you can then make the masses
believe what you say, you are not only remarkable you are a remarkable
genius. If I've said it once I've said it a 100 times darling, if ever I
am compelled to believe in reincarnation and all that type of thing,
I'll swear you were Goebbles in your last but one birth.
I hear you whining about the Jathika Hela Urumaya, completely breaking
this promise to you and voting with the TNA. Hmm. Now you know how Ranil
feels about you. Rotten I wager.
we are on the subject of monks and Utopian Dharma Rajyas and good
governance, what horror befell the members of your party darling?
Granted, the JVP types were new to the traditions, but what of your
colleagues in the blue corner? Except for the Pee Em who keeps acting
with some decorum despite your vapid influence, the others behaved like
retired female prison guards in a room full of bikes on death row. Or,
if you prefer, like circus monkeys in heat. On one hand, one is taught
as a little tike to respect the yellow robe and worship the feet that
hides under it, and on the other one learns by example to pelt the
yellow robe with anything weighing over 50 grams.
may have missed this during your endless tenure as prez dear, never
really coming into parliament except to shine in the light of others
during the budget, but there are what is commonly known as accepted
parliamentary traditions, where leaders of parties congratulate the
newly elected Speaker.
cannot agree with you more, there are traditions that really get one's
goat and should be abolished in the proper way, but surely a bit of a
congratulatory message by a member of the Sinhala Buddhist clergy is not
such a bad thing. Now if it had been a vile Catholic chappie or one of
those bally Apostles or Pentecostalists or Westernised watchamac- allits,
the situation would have called for entirely different methods. One
would have been totally justified in breaking with age old tradition and
burning and hurling at will. Anyway darling, you have learnt your
lesson. It is what I always say. This is what you get for monkeying
around with the monks. Toodle oo for now.