Toppling The Present Government – A ramification on India’s concern?
The sudden resurgence of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who vowed to topple the present government, said to has been made in the backdrop of India’s concern over Sri Lanka’s change in its China’s policy.
But a rhetoric unconcerned about the neighbor’s changing approach to Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena in the meantime retaliated yesterday, that the so-called move to topple the Government by the two time President would remain as mere dream, and that there would be no room to change the present administration.
International observers are of the view that Sri Lanka’s changing approach towards China is being a subject of emerging serious concern to Narendra Modi's Government of India, while already India considers the fishing issue in its southern sea-strip and that of the tiny Katchativu islet, as compounding irritants in its southern border.
However, the face value of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksas’s statement which looked innocuous that he intends on overthrowing the government this year is only highlighted ignoring the depth that belies the statement.
It was suspected that the bold statement made by Mahinda Rajapaksa was based on India’s concern and there might be some undercurrent of contacts already established.
Based on such perception only, observers consider that Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared in an interview with India’s English Language daily, The Hindu, “I want to topple the govt. in 2017.”
Anyhow, President Maithripala Srisena countered that statement, “Someone is trying to topple the government. We will not let anyone change the government illegally or by violating the Constitution. A government change is only possible with the people’s majority in 2020.”
In the meantime, the bold and public statement from the former President has been challenged by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and he remarked that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa could do whatever he wanted to, after he left for Switzerland on January 17. Regarding the former president Mr. Wickremesinghe said he had nothing to fear from him.
Prime Minister’s statement lacked perspicuity in the overall picture that lies behind the former President’s challenging statement, and this was how, it is believed, that the international observers view the whole episode.
However, Prime Minister’s remarks was not treated lightly by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who responded that he was not a ‘backstabber,’ and would only topple the government when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would be in the country and not when he was abroad.
“I assure the prime minister that I won’t topple the government while he is away. Backstabbing is not in my nature. Everything will be done in a democratic manner, when he is in the country. There is nothing for him to be afraid of. He can leave for Switzerland and come back safely,” Mr. Rajapaksa told the journalists at his political office in Battaramulla.
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the first time explicitly stated in his recent interview with 'The Hindu,' of his intent to make a political comeback, saying he wants to “topple” the current government in 2017.
When asked by 'The Hindu' 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, emphasizing he felt, “similar confidence” now.
Meanwhile that sudden cancellation of the visit to Jaffna on the 4th of January by President Maithripala Srisena may have been due to the unfolding political situation in South, the SLFP rank and file threatening to join the Joint Opposition and with a resurgent former President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowing to overthrow the Sirisena-Wickemesinghe coalition government in 2017.
Newspapers reported that the cabinet has recently accepted the swapping of the Hambantota Port debt to equity and the Government will sign within two weeks. the agreement with a Chinese company.
Under the proposal, China Merchant Port Holdings Ltd., is to acquire 80% of Hambantota equity, valued at $ 1.08 billion and to settle payments in installments. In addition, the Government hopes to dispose Mattala Airport under a PPA.
Also China requested 15,000 acres of land- roughly 60 square kilometers in southern Sri Lanka for the creation of a special economic zone that will reputedly create one million jobs, according to the country's Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade.
In the interview with ‘The Hindu’, Mr. Rajapaksa said earlier 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 privatization.
- Asian Tribune -