Two years after he was unseated, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the first time explicitly stated his intent to make a political comeback, saying he wants to “topple” the current government in 2017, the Hindu reported.
While the National Unity government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has a majority in Parliament, it may not last as “they are fighting each other”, he told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Thursday.
Sri Lanka’s Constitution disallows dissolution of the Parliament before four and a half years. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combine currently has about 155 seats in the 225-member Parliament.
The pro- Rajapaksa faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party — which President Sirisena leads — sits in Opposition, with nearly 50 members.
In a wide-ranging discussion at his Colombo residence, Mr. Rajapaksa, attired in a multi-coloured sarong and half-sleeved shirt, spoke at length about his political project for 2017 and on Western, Chinese and Indian diplomacy in Sri Lanka. He attributed his defeat in the January 2015 presidential polls to the opposition campaign that he accused the U.S. and India of backing. “That was too much for us. We didn’t know what was going on inside the party,” he said, alluding to President Sirisena’s unexpected defection to the joint coalition that challenged him.
He blamed his successor-government of failing in management and development of the country. “The biggest thing they did was they stopped all the development work and they started taking revenge.”
Commenting on the government’s contentious joint venture with the Hong Kong-based China Merchants Port Holdings Company — Sri Lanka plans to lease 80 per cent of the port in the southern Hambantota district to it — Mr. Rajapaksa said his administration only wanted to give the Chinese 750 acres for an industrial park, but the current government had agreed to part with 15,000 acres.
“This is the people’s land. No other country would have given land like that,” he said, adding he did not oppose investment, but opposed privatisation.
In a strong critique of Indian diplomacy, he said: “Those days our Indian friends were shouting at me when a (Chinese) submarine came calling at the Colombo Port, they were very worried... Now they are like a mouse.” Suggesting that India had other interests in forcing this apparent shift in its response to Colombo-Beijing ties, the former President said: “They [India] also must be getting something. I don’t know whether the Trincomalee Harbour is going to them or Palaly [airport] and Kanesanthurai [harbour],” referring to projects in the north and east.
He said he opposed the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India, which Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has been pushing. “India should not do this. They have to be very cautious about it. Because when the people go against you all, go against the country it is not good for them, not good for us.”
On India’s role during the end of the war, which former NSA Shivshankar Menon speaks of in his recent book Choices, Mr. Rajapaksa admitted to receiving New Delhi’s help to defeat the LTTE. “Yes, I have said that [before]. But they didn’t want to come out. Because of South Indian attitudes.”
Admitting that there was “some truth” in the criticism that he failed to unite the country after the civil war ended, the former President said: “Unfortunately, I thought people must have their basic facilities… I didn’t do politics there. I first gave them everything they needed to live.”
On whether he had misjudged the people’s requirements – the northern Tamils overwhelmingly voted against him in 2015 -- he said politicians and the diaspora had influenced them.
“When I wanted to move on political solutions, I invited [TNA leader] Sampanthan and other political parties. They didn’t want to have anything to do with me at that time. They didn’t even want to discuss with me,” he said, adding:
In a scathing attack of the United States, which vocally criticised him during his presidency, Mr. Rajapaksa said the US had spent nearly 650 million dollars to bring about a regime change. Blaming the current government for cosying up with the super power and roping them to train its officials, he said angrily: “Let the Americans come and rule the country.”
On his political future, Mr. Rajapaksa said he had initially planned to retire from politics following his January 2015 defeat, but the current government "went after him", forcing him to "respond". Asked if he was confident of making a comeback, the two-time President said: “Very.” “Earlier when I said that I am going to defeat Prabakaran, I knew, I could” he said, emphasising he felt “similar confidence” now.
this man is playing a real foolish drama.he is playing a fake and laughable plan secretly dicussed with china to fool all.he is the fool he is fooling. via DM Android App
puspy Thursday, 29 December 2016 10:14 PM
There are hundreds of Tamils living in overseas want to help mother Sri lanka, sadly none of our politicians want to promote that. They all love to sell our beloved nation to China. Do you want Tamils or you want China to control us.
Max Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:05 PM
Your spot on sir. Well said. A good slap to your haters, local and international.
ali Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:23 PM
He still thinks that Indian Govt and Chinese Govt are as foolish as most of Sri Lankans to get aroused with his drama or words? He only shows how immature he still is especially in international politics.
Amir Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:33 PM
Our beautiful country is sold to China. I blame both MR and now MS for that. It should be noted our Sinhala brothers are more happy to accomodate China than Tamils. It hurts me a lot. There are lots of Tam7ls who can help our paradise. But we are not prepared for that.
Archi Sunday, 01 January 2017 10:56 PM
Yes right. As soon as you toppled the government I will be going to Moon.
Boonda Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:41 PM
Pinching the baby and rocking the cradle game.
rajasinghe Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:57 PM
Who cares now what this racist has to say. Still trying to come to power at any cost to safeguard the stolen wealth from the public.
Gayan Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:59 PM
Lots of people like you suffuring for sure. What he says is correct.
Don Friday, 30 December 2016 12:10 AM
It is common among crooks to use reverse psychology.
Mevan Friday, 30 December 2016 01:36 AM
This fellow wanted to give a part of our country to Chinese as an outright grant and this would have created a small China in Indian ocean. Leasing is totally different.
Citizen Ash Friday, 30 December 2016 02:22 AM
First declare your wealth status. unfortunately your own family has screwed you. Do you realize that via DM Android App
janaka Friday, 30 December 2016 03:15 AM
Seen as low life thief by other countries after helping Hambantota theft.
Nimal Thursday, 05 January 2017 01:46 AM
Haven't he had enough and want more?
Nuwan Friday, 30 December 2016 03:56 AM
Irrelevant whether MR is or is not. Are we suffering from amnesia?
Kumar Friday, 30 December 2016 05:56 AM
I see that the Anti-Rajapaksa group are getting scared ! The old tiresome "horru, horru, corruption" false narrative doesn't work anymore.
WISE DONKEY Friday, 30 December 2016 08:38 PM
Sorry, he is right, the family has not achieved the set target yet. With another six yeras they will be set for generation to come......
Richard Tuesday, 03 January 2017 06:40 AM
He don't care about the county. Power Hungary selfish family.Instead of giving hand to improve the country he wants power.All politicians are selfish bast reds.
Maya Tuesday, 03 January 2017 06:59 PM
Have you consulted Sumana for the auspicious day and time?
Kadiya Friday, 30 December 2016 06:58 AM
Yeah, just like they were when you started it all and put Sri Lanka infinancial jeopady. Who is your adviser now on these matter anyway?
Hubert Friday, 30 December 2016 09:45 PM
we will have to seek asylum
M.Fool Friday, 30 December 2016 07:54 AM
dhanu Friday, 30 December 2016 07:57 AM
Yahapalanaya does not have economic strategies other than selling public proprieties. By the way where is that Volkswagen Company which was scheduled ti start on last august according to the PM?
BBM Friday, 30 December 2016 08:04 AM
MR don't know diplomacy , hypocracy only.
Sri Wickrema Friday, 30 December 2016 08:30 AM
His greed for power will never end.
bindu Friday, 30 December 2016 08:34 AM
Lies after lies for his advantage and to gain power somehow. He thinks Chinese are fools like himself and his followers.
BuffaloaCitizen Friday, 30 December 2016 08:50 AM
You allowed a series of Chinese war ships and thereafter allowed at least two submarines and if India did not protest, you would have gone further and allowed a Chinese Military post down south. You were not ousted out of power by the Indians or USA or UN or any other factor, but by the citizens of this country on 8th Jan who decided enough is enough of your arrogant corruption, thuggery, criminality, nepotism, racism and banana republic governance.
Jude Friday, 30 December 2016 09:01 AM
Hey India carrying the Americas'Agenda!!! And new Trump administration going to insist same from India!!! However, China has a huge presence in Asia, Asia Pacific, South China Sea, intact in this whole region!!!?? Now anyone with Diplomacy in higher standard would side with China!!!?? Yeah, for better or !!!!!????
Jans Friday, 30 December 2016 09:14 AM
MR please you gave us freedom Now its time to give Chance to YAHAPALANAYA PL wait and observe via DM Android App
RanjitS Friday, 30 December 2016 10:14 AM
He wants India to stop Chinese investment. What a hypocrite he is? He has gone down to Gammanpilla's level. This is how he is going to topple the government.
Lawry Friday, 30 December 2016 10:21 AM
Good thinking by the government instead of letting the Humbantota port go waste. The investment made on the port with our money (debts take in our name) should be put to good use regardless of Rajapaksha.
Ranger Thomas Friday, 30 December 2016 10:40 AM
So what ! India has much more faith and trust in MS
psychic Friday, 30 December 2016 10:40 AM
History repeats itself very soon!
Blessing Friday, 30 December 2016 10:50 AM
MR is the worst day-dreamer and still there are fools to believe him.
save Friday, 30 December 2016 10:51 AM
not only him any Sri Lankan would be like this. Think about a school principal who fails to develop a school.
Mason Friday, 30 December 2016 10:58 AM
It is advisable that you get a clean bill of health on Bribery and Corruption, before you commence your project "Topple Government in 2017".
Kadmin Friday, 30 December 2016 10:58 AM
Only reason for him to see an opening to comeback is due to Yahapalanaya couldn't lived up to the promises or manifests they have given during the election. Keep doing that and we can see country would fall back on to his lap.
sunil.basnayake Saturday, 31 December 2016 08:30 AM
You are mostly welcome back Sir.
kumar Wednesday, 04 January 2017 03:01 AM
In Sri Lanka,day dreams that happens
TONY Friday, 30 December 2016 11:24 AM
THIS TIME AROUND WHO IS THE ASTROLOGER WHO IS PREDICTING YOUR COME BACK
J P Rajan Friday, 30 December 2016 11:34 AM
It's not the chinese,Indians nor the Americans who toppled you!! It's we the citizens of Sri Lanka!!!! Please understand!!!
jason Friday, 30 December 2016 11:37 AM
2017 sihina kumara
chux Friday, 30 December 2016 11:54 AM
You should be resposnsible for this situation you are the one who sold the country to Chinese by building totally unwanted ventures which are running at massive losses and innocent people suffer,suffer
this Friday, 30 December 2016 11:58 AM
we are with you sir future of this country is you. at the rate whats happening in our country we will not have a Sri Lanka. via DM Android App
Zaheer Friday, 30 December 2016 12:01 PM
Toppling the present regime in 2017, a day dream of MR.
Lankan Friday, 30 December 2016 12:06 PM
You rescued the country from LTTE then sold it to China!!!
Zaheer Friday, 30 December 2016 12:25 PM
MR on a wild goose chase !!.
southpaw Friday, 30 December 2016 12:46 PM
Good News For Dumina Silva .. He can finally come out of Prison if Appachchi comes to power in 2017. The same goes to the Former Tangalle PS Chairman .
Dee Friday, 30 December 2016 01:04 PM
No chance for tyranny . not untill we live!
Lanka Friday, 30 December 2016 01:17 PM
We want you back Sir and need you urgently.
Dee Friday, 30 December 2016 01:24 PM
Who do you think you are? God? And who do you think we are? Some worthless animals?
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