QThe Rajapaksa family entered politics about 80 years ago. You are one of the youngest members in this family. What are your views about politics?
Politics are completely different from what is used to be. My father, Mahinda Rajapaksa, became the President and finished the war. He ended the era where people were terrified. Then people needed a leader who could develop the country. People considered and made my father the leader for the second time. Now people are looking for a leader who can stand tall and defend the country against international forces. What I am saying is to consider the most suitable candidate and elect that person.
QSome sons of Ministers who are around the same age as you are addicted to spending time at nightclubs and behaving indecently using their fathers’ powers and influence. Why is this happening?
This was something that has been happening all along. But now those incidents come to the limelight since there is no news related to the war. The journalists have more time and space to chase behind such incidents. Gossip websites chase behind small incidents and make a mountain out of a molehill. ]
QDon’t you attend night clubs?
No, I don’t like to attend night clubs. On a rare occasion, I might attend a friend’s party. Other than that I don’t go to nightclubs habitually.
QDon’t you want to attend or had your father prohibited you from attending?
No, my father has not tried to influence me in that way. Since I am interested in sports, I don’t like to consume alcohol. Since I don’t drink, there is no point in going to nightclubs.
QYour father hails from Medamulana. What is your connection to this place? Do you visit often?
From my childhood my father used to take us there for almsgivings and Sinhala -Hindu New Year. We love visiting the village because it is quiet, peaceful and uncongested, unlike the city. There is a big difference between the village and the city and my father made us feel this difference.
QDid you run around and play with the village children? How was that time?
We still meet our old friends when we go to Medamulana. Even though we have now grown up, we have not grown apart. Our hearts are still the same. The house in Medamulana is open to anyone. We even play with the kids of our friends. Still we play cricket and bathe at the anicut. My parents have always given us the freedom.
QHow old were you when your father first became the President?
I was around 15 years old.
QThere was a controversy over the President’s third term. What is your view on this?
I am of the view that if a country is to be developed, the leader should remain unchanged for a long time. If the leadership changes, the principles and the policies change. This is detrimental to the the country’s development. Examples of two such leaders who developed a country are Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia and Li Kwan Yu of Singapore. My father ended the war and terrorism in the country. He relieved the people’s fear and pain. I don’t see anything wrong with such a leader becoming the caretaker of the country again. I am not saying this as Rohitha Rajapaksa, but as a citizen who lived in this country during the war.
QPresident Rajapaksa is very close to the ordinary citizens. To children, he is Mahinda Maama (uncle). How do you view the effort put in by your father to solve the problems of these common masses?
My father wakes up at around 4 – 4.30am. He goes to sleep at 1.00 -2.00 am. When he wakes up he reads the papers to find out what problems are faced by the people of the country and make notes. Then he discusses the issues with the relevant people. He even asks us about the problems faced by the people because we interact with the public more than he does. Sometimes the people who discuss these matters with my father don’t express their honest opinions. They just nod and agree with my father. He knows that and he doesn’t like it. My father asks us about the prices of goods because he doesn’t visit the shops. We tell my father everything we know.
QSo you are saying that certain politicians and officials are trying to fool your father?
Yes! That happens always and will continue to happen. There are people who try and fool any leader. That is human nature. That is why there is a need for a strong opposition.
QDo you remember how your father behaved when he was in the opposition?
At that time we were very young. We were schooling and didn’t have much knowledge about politics. My father had more opportunities to directly interact with the people at that time. Even now, that is what he likes to do but he cannot due to security reasons.
QDo you believe that your father has rendered the kind of service that people expect?
I think that my father has rendered a huge service to the people of this country. Colombo today is very different to the Colombo then. The country today is different to the country then. My father made a visible change in the country. Uncle Gota discusses with me at length how to make Colombo a more comfortable city and what the young people of our generation think.
QWe heard that the three of you have a helicopter each; is it true?
We like to travel in helicopters. But we don’t have helicopters. We sometimes travel with my father in helicopter. Sometimes when he asks us to accompany somewhere urgently, we tell him to send the helicopter, but he always says that only he can use the Airforce helicopters. He has bought us toy helicopters, even those were not very expensive ones. We have never asked him for gifts and he has not given us any such special gifts.
QHad he not given any special gifts, even for your birthdays?
No, we have not asked as such. We have gone on trips during our birthdays but we play Rugby with our friends and my father. My father likes to go to Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. He likes to play with us. If we go to the gym and lift weights he also likes to lift weights.
QDo you go to Nuwara Eliya to ride on the horses, which were brought from the Buckingham Stables?
There is a horse which was a gift from Mr. Premadasa of the Premadasa Stable. It is an old horse which he gifted to my mother. We don’t have any horses from the Buckingham Palace.
QDo you have links to any businesses?
QWhat about your friends? Have your parents advised you on what kind of friends you should associate with?
No, they don’t interfere. My friends are my schoolmates. They have been with me throughout and they are true friends. I am not very close those who try to form friendships with me now because they may have ulterior motives.
QWho is your best friend among the Cabinet Ministers?
I don’t have any friends in the Cabinet.
QWhat did you feel about Maithripala Sirisena – who was a close ally of your father – crossed over to the Opposition to be the common candidate?
I knew about his defection even before my father did. My father advised him not to cross over. But I told my father that he would leave us. But he said that, he won’t leave. When one of my friends brought the list of defectors, my father said that we don’t need to panic; it is better if they leave rather than being here and causing harm to the party. But he always said that Maithripala was a senior member and he deserved the Prime Ministerial post. He even told him to be patient and he would give him the post. But my father did not regret his defection.
QWhat about Sarath Fonseka’s incident?
My father was more nervous when Sarath Fonseka joined the opposition. He is someone with a strong personality. Anyone can see his leadership qualities. But Maithripala seems more like a follower than a leader. He doesn’t see the future of Sri Lanka. They are speaking of a change, but can’t understand what is that change.
QWere you present during the discussions on Tissa Attanayake’s defection to the government?
No, I was not, but my brothers were present. They are the ones who are in politics. I am not involved in politics. Currently I am pursuing my PhD at the Colombo University.
QMahinda Rajapaksa is seen cuddling children. The opposition says that this is a trick to win votes. Is that true?
A child gets attracted to true love and caring. We felt that love even as children when our father carried us. My father truly loves children. That is why even children don’t cry when he takes them in his arms. Even I love little children.
QDo you have any plans of entering politics?
No, I don’t have plans to enter politics.
QAre you confident of your father’s victory at the upcoming Presidential election?
Yes, I am certain of my father’s victory.
QIf he loses?
We won’t be upset. My father has done a lot to end the war and develop the country. He doesn’t even have his own house. He doesn’t have his own luxury vehicles. Everyone with a conscience knows this. My father is a winner. He won a war and won a country.
QThere are rumours that the shoes you use are one and a half lakhs, and the watches are more than one million. Is this true?
No, that is not true. Most of the things we use are gifts including my father’s national dress. We have not bought any expensive watches.
QIs there a difference between your father and the President father?
No, he is the same person. He loves to watch films with us even now. He loves when there are more varieties of curries on the dining table. He is still a very simple, ordinary person. The whole country is like a family to him.