RUWAN LAKNATH JAYAKODY
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) plunged yesterday into a deeper crisis when 17 of its 29 local government members defected to the UPFA to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election, former Senior Vice President of the party told a news conference in Colombo.
Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila said that they would be unveiling the name of the new party and its leader soon. “Our party is founded on policies that are our foundation. We have suddenly strayed towards an alliance with the United National Party and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. There is a void in society for a Buddhist political party,” he added.
Chairman of the Embilipitiya Urban Council Ven. Wewalduwe Gnanaprabha Thera added that JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera, through his retail organization the National Council for a Clean Tomorrow, arbitrarily introduced the decision to support common candidate Maithripala Sirisena and defeat Rajapaksa without consulting the Central Committee of the Party.
Member of the Mahara Pradeshiya Sabha Ven. Yagoda Seevali Thera said that their group represented the villages.
“Rajapaksa won the war and gifted people peace. Rajapaksa too has his faults but we see no other better candidate. Ven. Ratana Thera’s present alignment has a mishmash of policies and no one particular stance. The true cream of the JHU including divisional and electorate level organizers are with Gammanpila,” he said.
Gammanpila explained that they are yet to decide on joining with Former JHU MP Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera.
“We will also discuss with the Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya. We have had discussions with leaders of Buddhist organizations, and so far the reactions have been positive,” he said.
Ven. Gnanaprabha Thera, Member of the Balangoda Pradeshiya Sabha Ven. Bowatte Dhammarama Thera, Member of the Pathahewaheta Pradeshiya Sabha Ven. Bolape Sudhamma Thera, Member of the Dambulla Pradeshiya Sabha Ven. Sigiriye Dhamminda Thera, Ven. Seevali Thera, Member of the Maharagama Urban Council Ven.
Molamure Nandarama Thera, Member of the Sithawaka Pradeshiya Sabha Dunkalahene Ratanaransi Thera, Member of the Beruwala Pradeshiya Sabha Sumith Nishantha, Member of the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha M.A.P. Madapatha, Member of the Gampaha Pradeshiya Sabha Nalin Withanarachchi, Member of the Wattala Urban Council Nimesh Nimanka, Member of the Harispaththuwa Pradeshiya Sabha Masin Gedera Wijayaratne, Member of the Panadura Pradeshiya Sabha Shantha Bandara, Member of the Ududumbara Pradeshiya Sabha Anuruddha Madugalle, Member of the Karuwalagaswewa Pradeshiya Sabha Dharma Shri Tennakoon, Member of the Padiyathalawa Pradeshiya Sabha Ajith Ranawaka and Member of the Kahatagasdigiliya Pradeshiya Sabha Rohana Wilbert have decided to support Rajapaksa alongside Gammanpila.