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Serendipity

Mahinda Rajapaksa has become the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the fourth time. He has been sworn in by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his younger brother. The Prime Minister’s son, his elder brother, the elder brother’s son and a nephew, too, have become members of the Parliament after winning in the polls. The people of Sri Lanka know that the PM’s son, Namal, would be succeeding his father in future, as the Family System is very strong in the tiny Island Nation. All the five members of the family registered victory in the recently held Parliamentary Polls. So, no one can deny the fact that Democracy backs the ‘Rule of a Family’ in the South Asian country. More than 70% voters cast their votes, and Rajapaksa’s SLPP Party bagged nearly 60% votes and 145 parliamentary seats.

This is where the first part of the formula behind Rajapaksa’s success lies! The family has established the dominance of Sinhalese Majority in the country with great vigour. In the first decade of 21st Century, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his then Defence Secretary Gotabaya had ignored the UN’s advice to suppress the Tamil militants in a brutal manner. They were allegedly involved in genocide in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna region. They had virtually turned the region into a colony of Colombo. Naturally, this aggressive policy had become a source of their immense popularity among the Sinhalese.

However, this is not just a matter of conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The majority of Sri Lankans have voted in favour of a strong administration. The opposition camp, led by the UNP, has been embroiled in controversy and leadership dilemma for the last few years. It has helped Mahinda Rajapaksa stamp his authority in Sri Lankan politics. Notably, the worrying trend of handing over the reins to a strong ruler, ignoring the flexible dimensions of Democracy, has become evident across the globe. And, Sri Lanka is no exception to this.

Mahinda (L) and Gotabaya (R)

The outcome of the Parliamentary Polls in Sri Lanka has triggered a fresh tension in neighbouring India, chiefly because of China. Mahinda Rajapaksa is popularly known as a ‘friend of Beijing’. During his previous tenure as the PM, China had continually increased economic investment in Sri Lanka to a large extent, and also influenced the decision-making process in the island. As the Sino-Indian diplomatic ties deteriorated in recent times, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return to power is not at all a piece of good news for India. The rulers of India and Sri Lanka have a similarity, as they believe in the ‘Principle of Majority Rule’. That is why it would not be easy for New Delhi to deal with a hegemonic ruler in Colombo in the coming days. Both the countries would have to stress on subtle and skillful diplomacy…

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