Chief Minister of the Uva Province
Shasheendra Rajapaksa became the Chief Minister of the Uva Province, a historic province of the country's nine provinces, by securing a record 136,697 preferential votes at the election held in 2009. It was no doubt a record, as his preferential vote percentage stood at 80%, which no other Chief Minister had ever achieved in the history of provincial council elections of Sri Lanka. As eight out of every ten voters had trusted in his leadership and voted for him, Shasheendra took it more as a challenge and an opportunity to serve the people of Uva rather than a personal victory for himself. He was sworn in as the Chief Minster on 20th August 2009, and was determined to change the status quo of the province from the underprivileged to one of prosperity.
Using the political acumen along with the vast knowledge and skills he had gathered over the years by working in the capacity of the Private Secretary to the Leader of Opposition, to the Honourable Prime Minister and then finally to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, Shasheendra launched the solid and realistic "Let's build a new Uva-Wellassa" programme, which has already brought very tangible effects in the process of uplifting the masses in the entire province. As a result, the people of Uva are going through a state of revival and vigour, which they have not experienced for a very long time.
In addition to being the Chief Minister, he holds 13 very significant ministries namely, Finance and Planning, Law and Order, Education, Local Government, Rural Infrastructure Development, Transport, Land, Irrigation, Cultural Affairs, Economic Development etc. As a practice, he makes it a point to consult with all other ministers regularly to ensure that all planned activities are in progress to achieve the set targets, and has thereby been able to draw special attention of His Excellency the President and the Central Government to the Province's very effective development process.
Shasheendra does not depend entirely on the funds set aside by the Central Government, but looks for and makes use of alternatives to move forward the development process of Uva. His charisma and tactfulness have further strengthened this endeavour by building up solid relationships with the other donor agencies including the private sector establishments, NGOs and INGOs.
Shasheendra believes in making the education sector a high priority in the total development process. This has evolved from his personal knowledge of the many positive effects, a good education bestows on an individual.
Yet another beneficial activity, he has undertaken in the Uva is to establish the Provincial Irrigation Department, which is now rebuilding the very effective but ancient and dilapidated irrigation systems in the province.
Besides, he has just completed the setting up of the Provincial Economic Development Department for the sole purpose of streamlining all economic development activities within the Uva Province.