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Minister Dodangoda pioneer of Left politics in SLFP

Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Piyasena Gamage, MP in a condolence message on the death of Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda states:

“Even at by-Elections during the period when voters lost faith in the democratic election process, late Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda was the pioneer of Left politics in the SLFP. This bosom friend of mine truly represented that Leftist section in the SLFP led by Ms. Sunethra Bandaranaike.

Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda

The death of Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda who was born on October 18, 1941 to well known businessman William Appuhamy and Mrs. Punyawathie Goonesekera in Dodangoda, Galle was indeed shocking news to me.

Minister Dodangoda received his primary education at Kukulalawatte Junior School, Ginimallegaha, Baddegama and had his tertiary level education both at Baddegama Ratnasara Vidyalaya and Richmond College, Galle. He graduated from the Peradeniya University in 1963 with a B.A. degree and began his profession as a teacher at Vidyaloka Pirivena, Galle. He joined the Government service as an Education Officer in the latter part of the 1960s and this was followed by his entry to Sri Lanka Law College in 1971.

There he proved his mettle by securing a coveted distinction pass in Company Laws and was subsequently sworn in as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court.

Minister Dodangoda entered politics by contesting the Akmeemana Electorate under the ‘Star’ symbol of the Leftist Front in 1977.

Again in 1983, he contested and won the Baddegama By-Election as an SLFP candidate of the then Janawegaya group. This heralded his historic entry to Parliament as a principled politician who brought victory to the party even at By-Elections. There was also a time when we launched joint election campaigns for the Baddegama and Hiniduma electorates.

He was a great inspiration to me and also helped the neighbouring Hiniduma electorate. He was in the Opposition until 1993 and resigned from the Parliamentary seat to contest the Southern Provincial Council Election as the UPFA candidate. By winning this PC election, he pioneered the defeat of the UNP rule which lasted for 17 years.

The victory achieved by the SLFP led Leftist forces precipitated by the landslide victory of the Southern Provincial Council Election led by Chief Ministerial Candidate Amarasiri Dodangoda in 1993 is very symbolic in the present context. President Rajapaksa’s magnanimous gesture of offering the Cabinet portfolio of Justice Minister to Amarasiri Dodangoda by visiting this Minister at his residence is really a blessing not only to the people of Hiniduma but also to the Galle electorate.

On the day this gentleman was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the Southern Provincial Council in 1993, he said that this post was not for his personal benefit, but solely far all others.

(Mey Padaviya Dondagodata Badaganna nevei, Mey Dodangoda Beda dena minihek) This still rings in my ears.

His eloquent speeches in Parliament at times silenced the Opposition members. He turned out to be one of the two principal characters who helped me in all my efforts as an MP to develop the Hiniduma electorate.

The other was my political mentor late Richard Pathirana. The absence of these two close associates of mine has left a void in my political career. Minister Dodangoda had the strength and character to serve the people even with a very poor health condition in the recent past.

I would also humbly state that he led a happy family life with his two children and loving wife who is a lawyer by profession practising at the Hulftsdorp and Mount Lavinia Courts.

I extend my profound condolences over his death to his children and family members.”

May he attain Nibbana.

 

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