Who will be the next Prime Minster of Sri Lanka?
Basil Rajapaksa A consummate planner and organizer
(Nation – By Ven. Walpola Piyananda, (Chief Sangha Nayaka of America)
When we study the life of the Buddha we see that the Buddha was no stranger to politics; he was raised to succeed his father, a powerful king. After he became the Buddha oftentimes his advice was sought and he abrogated disputes between kingdoms, counselled kings and princes, prevented wars, advised rulers and military leaders always tempering his advice with an eye to maintaining peace, stability, and well-being for everyone in the Dhammapada the Buddha emphasised that a leader “who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct, discerning and self controlled, righteous and heedful over grows in success”.
Sri Lankan politics did not always have visionary leaders who were capable of planning for future generations. At the present time, however, we do have a visionary leader in the person of Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to the President and UPFA leader of the Gampaha District.
I have personally known most of the Rajapaksa family: wives, children, relations, and close associates for as long as I can remember. I have known Basil Rajapaksa for decades – as I have known his brother, the President; his brother, the Defence Secretary and his elder brother, the Minister of Ports and Airports. The family has been in the political arena for the past seventy years, beginning with Basil Rajapaksa’s father.
From my perspective, I feel that Basil Rajapaksa’s primary talent lies in his ability to plan and successfully implement those plans, two of the most critical characteristics for a great leader. For example, within just a few months of assuming the role as UPFA leader of the Gampaha District, Basil Rajapaksa already knows each and every village within the District: He has created a master plan for future development which includes a programme for expanding higher education and better health care to improve the lives of the people.
Basil Rajapaksa has proven that he has the ability to work with all the communities in Gampaha – the Buddhists, the Catholics, and the Muslims – and he has demonstrated this time and again in his many Government roles. He is able to get these disparate groups to work together cooperating to create a better future – as a model community for the rest of the country. After the terrorist war, his work for re-assimilating the North and Eastern Provinces into the Sri Lankan mainstream has already earned him praise from the UN and several NGO’s who were surprised that he could re-settle so many IDP’s and build so many bridges and roads in such a short time.
Speaking of building bridges, during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first term, Basil Rajapaksa was the one who managed to engineer a cross-over movement, which enabled the ruling party to successfully run the Government. It has always been Basil Rajapaksa who was able to bring opposing parties to the negotiating table whenever a deal or settlement needed to take place – in all areas of Government. Don’t forget that it was also Basil Rajapaksa who negotiated with the Indian Prime Minister when the Tamil Nadu Provincial government put pressure on Singh to make our president capitulate and stop the war.
Basil Rajapaksa has basically been in politics since he was a child. In his early twenties he was his brothers’ campaign manager in every election since they ran for MP; and for President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his campaigns for Prime Minister, and finally president – twice.
Basil Rajapaksa lived in Southern California for a number of years and I know first hand the extent of his devotion to Buddhism. He was always there when my Temple needed him: Never failing to participate in Temple events when they could. Mrs. Pushpa Rajapaksa, his wife is an attorney. She has always stood by his side and offered her professional advice whenever needed. Basil Rajapaksa is energetic, brilliant, disciplined, and well-educated. As long as I’ve known him he has always been improving his knowledge of world politics – sensing perhaps that his services would be required during crucial moments in the years ahead.
I give my wholehearted endorsement to Basil Rajapaksa in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He is a worthy, qualified man – one who can ably lead the country into its next phase of planned, sustainable development.