President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today he stood for the philosophy symbolised by the Kurahan Satakaya (maroon shawl) though he did not wear it as his other family members did.
“Even though I do not wear this shawl, I stand for the same profound philosophy of constant dedication to the poor that is symbolized by the maroon shawl,” he said in his policy statement in Parliament today.
“From the first day the honourable D.M. Rajapaksa, known as the Lion of Ruhuna, appeared in the State Council, he wore a maroon shawl. What he symbolized through this maroon shawl were the millet farmers of Giruvapaththuwa. Following D. M. Rajapaksa, my father D.A. Rajapaksa and each member of the Rajapaksa family who was elected to Parliament wore the maroon shawl,” he said.
“It is this same philosophy that is embodied in the Policy Statement I presented during my presidential election campaign. I served this nation as an Army Officer for twenty years and as Secretary of Defence for another ten years. Even though I was not actively engaged in politics, I have experienced what service to the people is from an early age."
The President said his father’s elder brother D.M. Rajapaksa, began his political journey in the State Council in 1936, representing the Hambantota electorate and after his demise in 1945, the people of Hambantota elected my father D. A. Rajapaksa, to the State Council.
"Later, he was elected through the popular vote as a Member of the country’s first Parliament. From that time until now, many members of the Rajapaksa family, hailing from the rural village of Medamulana in Giruvapaththuwa, Ruhuna, have served as elected public representatives.
There have not only been Members of Parliament, Deputy Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, a Deputy Speaker of Parliament, a Speaker of Parliament, a Leader of the Opposition and a Prime Minister, but also two Presidents elected to office by the people, who reposed their trust in us,” he said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwadana)