These days, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s right hand is Upali Kodikara of Maharagama, who is called Prof.
Charlie Chaplin by those around the ex-president. Recently, Dr. Udaya Sri Kariyawasam launched his book ‘Good governance principles and their use in Sri Lanka’. The chief guest at the launch was the ex-president, who took Kodikara along with him. When the traditional oil lamp was being lit, Kodikara shouted from his seat, “Invite our MP Sisira Jayakody too.” In the end, it was not the editor’s picks, but the picks of Kodikara who lit the oil lamp.
After the launch, kariyawasam hosted refreshments and as he was speaking with the chief guest, someone came from behind and patted him on the back. It was Kodikara, who said, “Kari, I have to go now. I cannot wait for tea. I have to speak at six or seven meetings. I cannot be late.” An organizer who was nearby told him, “We didn’t invite you. Therefore, don’t play the fool and leave.”
That embarrassed not Kodikara, but Rajapaksa, who said, “This fellow comes everywhere I go. He has nothing else to do. If not for me, no one else would have given him a provincial minister position.”
When Kodikara was the transport minister of the western province, he had renowned song writer Sunil R. Gamage as his secretary. He wrote the song ‘Ayubo Wewa Maha Rajanane’ for Rajapaksa.
At the first meeting after he appointed Gamage as his secretary, Kodikara gave a speech, where he said, “From today, Sri Lanka’s well-known song writer Sunil Ariyaratne assumes duties as my secretary.” Everybody present looked for Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne. Someone in the head table told Kodikara, “No, Mr. minister, this is not Sunil Ariyaratne. This is Sunil R. Gamage.” Then, Kodikara blurted out, “I got it a bit wrong. This is not Sunil Ariyaratne, but Sunil Ariyagamage.” No one tried to correct him again.
These days, SLFP supporters in Maharagama electorate are quite a relieved lot, as the appeal court dismissed the SLPP election petition. Not only Basil, but also SLPP chairman G.L. Peiris too, are happy with that rejection.