Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statements during his visit to India, especially his views about the candidate for the presidential election, have created numerous stories in the media including the social media.
Speaking to ‘The Hindu’ about contesting the presidential election Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa has said, “I will lead the SLPP. There is a view that despite the Amendment I can fight elections and then fight it out in court” and as an alternative, he suggests a member from Rajapaksa family. He says, “My son (Namal Rajapaksa) can’t be a presidential candidate since they have now raised the minimum age to 35 years, instead of 30, so he can’t be considered in 2019. My brother is certainly a contender..”
Former President displaying his inclination towards India states, “ I always kept India informed and asked them first to build the port, to build the airport, to build the highways… we always came to India. We offered them first, then the next offer went to China because they were the only people who could do it.”
He also takes the opportunity to get favour from India by saying ‘The government isn’t stable,’ and states, “For the security of India, stability in Sri Lanka is very important. A weak government cannot give that guarantee.”
When asked whether he would be willing to work with Mr Sirisena, his former colleague and from his old party, the SLFP, again Mr Rajapaksa says, “Unfortunately he is not prepared to work with me. We have a new party [Sri Lanka Podujana Peramunal], and our president is G.L. Peiris.”
Mr Rajapaksa does not denounce privatization, instead, when asked “Why his party opposed the Mattala airport being leased to India and why was his objection Mr Rajapaksa says, “I am not opposing India, I am opposing the privatization that is the policy of the Sirisena government. I never privatized the way they have. In fact I bought back the shares of the gas company, insurance company, and also the SriLankan Airlines that was sold to Emirates.”