No matter what,Ranil cannot be PM, says Namal Rajapaksa

Even as the political deadlock continues amid protests and rallies in Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksa camp is putting up a confident front.

Speaking to India Today at his office in Colombo, Namal Rajapaksa, MP from Hambantota and son of newly sworn-in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, said that they were confident that they had the numbers to show in the event of a no-confidence motion when the parliament convenes.

“We are very confident about that because we took the decision when we had the numbers…There will not be a no-confidence motion on the 14th but we can show the numbers if needed,” he said.

Senior officials in the current dispensation have confirmed to us that on November 14 there will not be a ‘no-confidence motion’ since it would be the day of ‘Throne’s Speech’ (as followed in UK and so the only business for that day would be the president’s speech.

Citing the Constitution, in no unclear terms the Lankan parliamentarian said that no matter what happens Ranil Wickremesinghe will not by Prime Minister.

“Well, President Sirisena has clearly said that he will not go ahead with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister. The constitution has given the will and mandate to the President to decide who will be the Prime Minister,” he said.

On the question of how is that the two rivals have come together to form the government, Namal Rajapaksa said that his party was looking at the interest of the nation first. He said, “National interest comes first. We might have had political differences and faced hardship but at the end of the day our principles are based on our policies.”

Accusing Ranil Wickremesinghe of siding with the West and undermining the interests of the country, he hurled barbs at the ousted PM saying, “Ranil concentrated more on western interests than on Lankan interests. He is still depending on the West and not the Sri Lankan people.”

Challenging Ranil Wickremesinghe, he asked, “If the Honourable former prime minister says his removal is unconstitutional then go to court or the people. Why is he not doing that? Let’s go for election.”

While both sides are trying to ensure they have the 113 MPs required to reach the halfway mark, one critical factor would be the Tamil votes. The Sirisena camp managed to get one out of the 16 TNA (Tamil National Alliance MPs onto their side but the rest have resolved to vote against Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“We are willing to engage with the Tamil parties but unfortunately, they are not engaging their own Tamil community. They represent their own interest and the party’s not the Tamil community. Majority of the Tamil parties do not represent their own people. TNA as a political party does not represent the Tamil people of Sri Lanka,” said Namal accusing the Tamil leaders of looking at their own interests.

Finally, India is watching very closely the political turmoil that has grappled this island nation. Namal Rajapaksa tried to address India’s concerns regarding the belief that Mahinda is considered close to China.

“We are looking for a better future. We want India-Sri Lanka relationship to be robust and resilient. We are neighbours. Economic relationship is what matters in modern day. The relationship with China is purely based on investments,” he said.

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