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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2423

Chandrika runs to India to lobby against Mahinda Rajapakse’s military campaign; Ranil to follow

Colombo, 12 September, (Asiantribune.com): After holding talks with Indian High Commissioner, Alok Prasad, on Monday the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga left for India yesterday (Tuesday). Officially it was announced that this was to be a private visit. Unofficially, it is known as the latest political mission of Chandrika Kumaratunga to stage a come back with the help of India. Airline officials were quite surprised to see Chandrika Kumaratunga arriving in time for departure. When she was in office she held up flights for hours inconveniencing passengers, some of whom had to catch connecting flights in time.Airline officials were quite surprised to see Chandrika Kumaratunga arriving in time for departure. When she was in office she held up flights for hours inconveniencing passengers, some of whom had to catch connecting flights in time.

Just before the talks began in Colombo she slammed the door on the media waiting at the entrance, virtually shooing them away.

Though her visit is billed as a private visit political observers maintain that her main mission would be to launch her anti-Mahinda Rajapakse campaign on Indian soil. Both have engaged in a running battle long before either of them became president and it was carried on when they occupied the Presidential chair.

Her new political ally, Ranil Wickremesinghe, whom she sacked when she was President, is expected to follow in her steps. He too is due in India shortly. Both are expected to take a long list of complaints against the Mahinda Rajapakse government and put pressure on India to halt the military campaign. They will claim that it will hinder any negotiated settlement but the political reason behind this anti-Mahinda Rajapakse campaign is to halt the successful military campaign that is adversely affecting their popularity. The latest poll held by NGOs revealed that 84% backed Mahinda Rajapakse’s military campaign, leaving a narrow margin of 16% for Ranil Wickremesinghe’s anti-war campaign.

The battle to win India’s support is turning it into a charade.

This battle makes India the stage for the theatre of the absurd where the Government and the Opposition are playing out their rivalries in front of Indian political leaders. Each time the Government makes a bid to mend fences and strengthen relations the Opposition runs to Delhi to undo what the Government has done.
Earlier a delegation led by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapakse, flew to India to discuss ways and means of strengthening further cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The talks were successful but the Presidential Secretariat botched it up by issuing statement saying that a Defence Committee, consisting of key officials from India and Sri Lanka, had been formed. Later India and Sri Lanka both denied this.

In the meantime, airline officials were quite surprised to see Chandrika Kumaratunga arriving in time for departure. When she was in office she held up flights for hours inconveniencing passengers, some of whom had to catch connecting flights in time.

This has been one of her common abuses of power. When she was President she was always late with her side-kick, Mangala Samaraweera who was the Minister for Aviation holding up flight to suit her convenience. But she never failed to arrive in time for foreign airlines. Her delayed arrivals holding up Air Lanka flights invariably added to the mounting costs of Air Lanka.

One commentator said, tongue in cheek, that the best way to cut the costs of Air Lanka is to keep Chandrika Kumaratunga out of office.

- Asian Tribune -

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