By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara writes that “After the 2015 Presidential elections, for reasons better known to DJ, he approached GR and joined Viyath Maga.” That’s a blatant lie. As Dullas Alahapperuma and Matale mayor Mohammed Hilmy will attest, “After the 2015 presidential election” I met ex-President Rajapaksa at Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s residence of January 10th and rolled out a recovery strategy centered on Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament. Furthermore, as Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dullas Alahapperuma, Udaya Gammanpila MP and Wimal Weerawansa would attest, I spent weeks meeting them at my home and that of others, working out the revival of the Opposition. It was at such a working dinner that the idea of the Nugegoda meeting was arrived at. I still recall Wimal looking up from his plate and saying “kavuru nokarath ehnang mama oya rasveema sanvidhanaya karanava!” Admiral Weerasekara must understand why I was invited to read out President Rajapaksa’s message at Nugegoda on Feb 18th 2015.
There was no Viyath Maga at the time. I had not met Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the time except during the Kurunegala campaign, and he was maintaining a low profile. Dr. Nalaka Godahewa and I were among a small group that worked on the August 2015 parliamentary election manifesto with the approval of ex-President Rajapaksa who I was meeting regularly. We later combined our efforts with another group of young academics close to Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. There was no Viyath Maga anywhere in sight at the time.
As far as I know Viyath Maga and Viyath Handa were two organizations of professionals that were together at one moment, broke up at another and reunited down the road. I was invited to a dinner meeting at the 80 Club by some professionals and academics with whom we had worked in the 2015 campaign, and Viyath Handa invited me to speak at a seminar or two, which I did. I never joined either Viyath Maga or Viyath Handa. Indeed I declined to attend the opening of the Viyath Maga office for the reason that I gave the friend who brought the invitation. I explained to her that the ideology and profile of Viyath Maga were too traditionalist, Sinhala nationalist and neoconservative not of a sort I could be associated with.