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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2760

Three years of Presidency and what made him the President

By Raja Arambewela for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 17 November, (Asiantribune.com): "Honesty, Integrity, Perseverance, Fearlessness and not indulging in petty partisan community politics were the greatest qualities that were the force in him that drove him to the zenith of his political carrier” said Mr. Alavi Moulana, the Governor of the Central Province and a very close associate of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, of the President.

Mr. Moulana said this without any hesitation in reply to a question posed by the Asian Tribune interviewing him on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse becoming the President of Sri Lanka. The Asian Tribune decided to interview Mr. Alavi Maulana as he has been a very close associate of Mr. Rajapakse since Mr. Rajapakse’s advent to politics. Mr. Moulana spoke very freely and frankly showing that he was and is a great believer of Mr. Rajapakse and his abilities. Alavi Moulana: When he first came into politics in 1967 after the passing away of his father, I can remember him as a thin young lad who was somewhat shy. But he caught on very quickly and became the youngest Member of Parliament in 1970 at the age of 24. I can still remember after becoming a lawyer in 1977 he won the first case he ever appeared for. Alavi Moulana: When he first came into politics in 1967 after the passing away of his father, I can remember him as a thin young lad who was somewhat shy. But he caught on very quickly and became the youngest Member of Parliament in 1970 at the age of 24. I can still remember after becoming a lawyer in 1977 he won the first case he ever appeared for.

The interview of Mr. Moulana by the Asian Tribune is listed below in the question and answer mode for the convenience of the reader.

Asian Tribune: Now that Mr. Rajapakse has become the President of Sri Lanka and three years have lapsed, what force in him, do you think, was the key factor in his success?

Alavi Moulana: Honesty, integrity and perseverance are his greatest qualities that were the force in him that drove him to the zenith of his political carrier. And mind you, not indulging in petty partisan community politics and fearlessness were other great qualities in him. I have firsthand experience of how perseverance and fearlessness enabled him to carry through whatever task he undertook. I can give you one good example to show how persevering he is.

Take the case of the Pâda Yâthra organized by him in the early 1992. I can remember he organized this event while he was in Libya. No sooner he came back, he invited Mr. Anura Bandaranayake also and we discussed and planned.

We were naturally a bit scared about this but, he was not. I will tell you one interesting fact. Somehow he got Mr. Ossie Abegunasekera who would leak the information to the then President, to the discussion and made him believe that this is not going to be a success as only a very a few people will take part and if the government take steps to obstruct this small event, it will only have an adverse effect on the government. So as planned Ossie gave the information to President Premadasa who allowed the Pâda yâthra to go through without any opposition. But, it became such a tremendous success; it undoubtedly was the turning point in the fall of the UNP government.Alavi Moulana being felicitated by the President on the 50th anniversary  as a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party  and also in  politics. Alavi Moulana being felicitated by the President on the 50th anniversary as a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and also in politics.

Asian Tribune : Who do you think influenced him most in his political life?

Alavi Moulana: It was definitely his father, the great politician of the early days, who crossed over with Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranayake from the UNP, was instrumental in forming the SLFP and who later became a Minister in the Wijayananda Dahanayake government.

Asian Tribune: What actions taken or work done do you value most during his tenure as a politician.

Alavi Moulana: As a Trade Unionist I most valued the Worker’s Charter which he drafted and presented to the parliament as his brainchild which, of course was, unfortunately not implemented by the then President Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga. This charter sought to establish trade union rights, a wages Commission, social security, a National Trade Union Training Institute and facilities for adjudication of industrial disputes. I also value a lot the work done by him in the field of Human Rights.

Asian Tribune: How do you assess his achievements of the past 3 years as President?

Alavi Moulana: Well there are so many good and difficult things done by him during this period. Among them I can quote the Fertilizer subsidy given to farmers in spite of the global economic crisis, continuation of the Samurdi Programme, actions taken to lower the unemployment rate. He also invited the LTTE for talks when he came into power which, unfortunately did not materialize. When the talks didn’t materialize he boldly gave the leadership, courage and the necessities to the war effort. Capturing the Eastern Province and holding elections there can be valued as a very high achievement.

Asian Tribune: You were an associate of him for a long time and were also in the cabinet with him. Did you ever think we would be the President one day? If so, why?

Alavi Moulana : Yes, I definitely thought so, but, not in the beginning. When he first came into politics in 1967 after the passing away of his father, I can remember him as a thin young lad who was somewhat shy. But he caught on very quickly and became the youngest Member of Parliament in 1970 at the age of 24. I can still remember after becoming a lawyer in 1977 he won the first case he ever appeared for. Later on when I started noticing the qualities I mentioned earlier, I knew that someday he will undoubtedly reach the top.

Asian Tribune : What can you say about the war and how can you justify it?

Alavi Moulana: Well, we can be happy the way is going on at present. Our soldiers are fighting a difficult war and gaining grounds. We can justify the war by the fact that the President, when he came to power, invited the LTTE for talks. It was they who didn’t come forward and necessitated the war. Well, even a couple of days ago when our brave force captured Pooneryn and were winning the war the President humbly called them to surrender without trying to wipe them out.

Asian Tribune: What can you say about the capture of Pooneryn?

Alavi Moulana: We must salute our brave soldiers for fighting such a difficult war under such difficult conditions. We must of course, salute the President for taking the initiative and for being driving force behind this war effort.

- Asian Tribune -

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