JHU ousts pro-Rajapaksa Thera from leader post

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 June 2010, 07:52 GMT]
Power struggle ended in the extreme Sinhala nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) by ousting Venerable Ellawala Medhananda Thera from the post of party leader and electing Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera unanimously at the party’s seventh national convention held Saturday evening at Colombo Town Hall. Ellawala Thera was backing Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the idea of prolonging his presidential term through constitutional amendment. The JHU had to elect a new leader as Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera had resigned from the post as he needed more time to devote on his pet subjects of archaeological research in Mullaiththeevu, JHU sources said.

However, the outgoing president said he was in Mullaiththeevu on an archaeological study and that at no time had he cited time constraints and his archaeological work as being obstacles to his work in the party.

JHU had also said Ven. Medhananda Thera had also stated that he did not have the time to engage in full time politics and that he was stepping down as leader, leaving the position in the hands of capable persons.

Venerable Ellawella Medhananda Thera later said he was unaware of what happened during the JHU national convention adding that he had not told the party that he wished to be relieved from the post of leader and wished success to the newly elected president.

The recent developments within the monks party also reveal how the role of JHU was used by the UPFA rulers in alienating the Norwegian facilitators and power sharing promoted by moderates among the Sinhalese.

Omalpe Sobitha Thero, who carried out a fast-unto-death campaign in 2005 for 17-days against the P-TOMS agreement mediated by Norway between the GoSL and the LTTE, had earlier stepped out from his Parliamentarian post to pave the way for the articulate Sinhala nationalist policy advisor Ranawaka, who has been a minister in Rajapaksa government.

Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera (Chairman) Power & Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawake (General Secretary), Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe (national organizer) and Amal Jayewardene (Treasurer) were also elected in addition to a 33 member central committee of the JHU.

 

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