A traditional Sri Lankan music band welcomed the senior monks including the Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, earlier on Sunday, and they were flanked by people taking photos and videos as they walked from the entrance to the center of the stadium.
Hundreds of monks, dressed in robes in shades of orange, brown and maroon, sat in covered tents set up across a large stage while devotees took the stadium seats.
The gathering comes ahead of presidential polls set for either November or December in which President Maithripala Sirisena, former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe could be possible candidates.
He said that if the monks could get the support of even 7,000 temples in Sri Lanka for one political front during the elections, and each temple can garner 10,000 votes for that front, there could be a Sinhala government.
He did not say what front this would be and whether it will be from an existing candidate or if he or BBS or any other Buddhist groups would come together to form a new party.
“We have already done our calculations. Everybody now talks about parliament democracy. If the need is to have a democratic parliament, then we monks have to own that,” said Gnanasara, his voice booming over the microphone
“If all the monks get together, we can win with the help of robes,” he said to cheers and applause from the crowd.
The influential chief of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, addressing hundreds of monks and followers in Kandy, called on Sri Lanka’s 10,000 Buddhist temples to help win votes for candidates from the Sinhala Buddhist majority.
“We the clergies should aim to create a Sinhala government. We will create a parliament that will be accountable for the country, a parliament that will protect Sinhalese,” said Gnanasara.
He also said the politicians should leave the fight against Islamist extremism to the monks.
“We can talk to them face to face in villages and create the Muslim culture as we want without going for extremism. It’s our responsibility because this is a Sinhalese country. We are the historical owners of this country,” he said. Source – Reuters