- Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 10:53
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Today is the 45th death anniversary of the greatest leader of the Ruhuna, the late D.A.Rajapaksa. A commemoration ceremony took place this morning at the D A Rajapaksa statue in Tangalle.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa together with family members paid floral tributes to the statue of D.A.Rajapaksa.
The Southern Provincial Council Chairma Somawansha Kodagoda and the Mayor of Tangalle Anil Selvahendrige garlanded the statue of D.A.Rajapaksa.
President Rajapaksa is due to award Sisura scholarships to a group of students at this function.
The late D A Rajapaksa was elected uncontested to the State Council in the July, 1945 by-election to succeed his brother D.M.Rajapaksa and continued to serve the people of Hambantota with total dedication. Having been a farmer and cattle owner, he was intimately aware of the problems of the peasants, and in particular their need for land and water.
His appointment to the Committee for Agriculture and Land in the State Council enabled him to tackle the landless problem of the peasantry in the Ruhuna. He distributed to the peasant community five acre plots of land on 99 year lease, middle income earners 10 to 50 acres. This visionary measure to solve the land problems, make the people economically vibrant and help the country’s economic development greatly boosted paddy and coconut cultivation in Ruhuna. He was also associated with the establishment of several irrigation schemes including the construction of the Chandrika Wewa and had many visions for the future development of the Ruhuna and the country. The construction of a harbor in Hambantota was one of his dreams.
Upon wining the 1947 Election to Parliament the late D.A.Rajapaksa was involved in the national revolution, through the gaining of Independence from Britain in 1948. By 1951 he saw that the UNP was not a party that served the peasant or the village, and he was the sole MP to cross over to the Opposition with S W R D Bandaranaike, and became a founder member of the SLFP.
He thereafter won Beliatte at the 1952 General Election as an SLFP MP and held this seat until 1965. Although he hailed from a rich family in the Ruhuna he spent all wealth and properties to serve the people. Elders associated with him relate that he sold his vehicle, leased his coconut lands and went through enormous hardships to sustain his family.
They also state that when he fell seriously ill in November 1967, there wasn’t a vehicle nearby to take him to hospital. When transport was arranged belatedly his heart condition worsened, and he died after admission to hospital. (niz)