The newly appointed Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) National Organiser, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, commenced work with the blessings of the Maha Sangha at the Vidyalankara Pirivena Peliyagoda, yesterday (5 March).
The Chief Sanghanayake of the Colombo and Chilaw districts, Kelaniya University Chancellor Ven. Dr. Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thero directed the pooja to bless the Minister. He and Chairperson Liya Abhiman, Attorney Pushpa Rajapaksa were warmly welcomed on behalf of the SLFP Gampaha District Organisation by Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna – who is also its Treasurer – Deputy Ministers, MPs, electoral organisers, provincial councillors and Pradeshiya Sabha chairmen. Minister Basil Rajapaksa who entered politics as a SLFP activist in the 1970s also functioned as President of the SLFP Youth Federation and was a SLFP assistant secretary at one time. He contested from the Gampaha district at the last Parliamentary election and won with 428,861 votes – a record.
It was the highest number of votes received by any candidate in that election. The SLFP Central Committee unanimously decided to appoint him as SLFP National Organiser at a meeting held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 27 February. Addressing those present, Ven. Dr. Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thero wished Minister Basil Rajapaksa all success and good fortune and expressed his gratitude to President Rajapaksa for appointing the Minister SLFP leader of the Gampaha district in 2010. The Venerable Thero said that the 138-year-old Vidyalankara Pirivena took the lead in giving moral guidance to society and protected the Sinhala identity and Buddhism without surrendering to any force. The Ven. Dr. Kusaladhamma assured Minister Basil Rajapaksa that the blessings of the Maha Sangha would always be with him. Minister Basil Rajapaksa also paid a courtesy call on Sabaragamuwa University Chancellor Venerable Professor Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera. Members of the Maha Sangha and a number of senior politicians attended the event.