Following a statement made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his interview with the Hindu newspaper that he will select a member of Rajapaksha family to contest the next presidential election, a tense situation has arisen in the Joint Opposition (JO). Are the other politicians in the Joint Opposition NOT fit to be a President of Sri Lanka?
Mahinda Rajapaksa did not specify which member, and only said it would be only a member of the Rajapaksa family who will be the next presidential candidate.
In a context where several prominent members of the JO are backing to field former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the next presidential candidate, the former President did not mentioning Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s name, has become a topic of discussion in the JO. It is a open secret that Mahinda wants his son to be the next President but he is underage as per the 19th Amendment.
In the meantime, Democratic Left Front leader Vasudewa Nanayakkara, who also represents the JO, says that Mahinda Rajapaksa referred to MP Chamal Rajapaksa when he said that his brother could contest the presidential election.
MP Vasudewa Nanayakkara emphasizes that neither Basil Rajapaksa nor Gotabaya Rajapaksa has revoked their US citizenship, and therefore they cannot be considered for presidential election prior to revoking their citizenships.
Confirming Vasudewa Nanayakkara’s statement, Chamal Rajapaksa had stated in Ambilipitya that Mahinda Rajapaksa has many brothers and he is between Basil Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He had further said that Mahinda Rajapaksa will field a suitable candidate from Rajapaksha family on time.
However, JO MP Kumara Welgama had opposed the statement made by Mahinda Rajapaksa in India. Mr. Welgama had stated that he deplores Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement.
He had further said that Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the last presidential election due to favouring his family. He emphasized that a political party belongs to everyone and it cannot be limited to a single family. There are many senior members that are not of the Rajapaksa family and they too must receive an opportunity, he added.
When people such as Kumara Welgama and Vasudewa Nanayakkara openly reject Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Udaya Gammanpila openly said that the former President in his statement talked about Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
In the wake of the former President’s statement, conflicts have arisen within the JO, and the leaders of the JO have started to question whether there is no movement for the party without the Rajapaksa family. However, it seems like the JO has no political vision or a proper plan without the Rajapaksas.
Even though the members of the JO are interpreting this matter the way they want, what Mahinda Rajapaksa wants is to make ONLY a member of his family the next President and misuse public money.