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As Sri Lankan Crisis Continues, Rajapaksa Lines Up Meetings to Win Trust Vote

File image of Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Image: Reuters)

File image of Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Image: Reuters)

Sources in Colombo said, Rajapaksa, who is confident of winning the trust vote, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a two-thirds majority during the floor test.

Aishwarya Kumar
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New Delhi: Crisis in Sri Lanka seems to be intensifying, as the newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa rallies to garner support, ahead of the trust vote of November 16.

Rajapaksa met deputy minister Vadivel Suresh on Sunday.

Sources in Colombo said, Rajapaksa, who is confident of winning the trust vote, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a two-thirds majority during the floor test.

More ministers are expected to join, as Rajapaksa is slated to meet leaders from TNA, CWC, JVP and SLMC to discern their demands and bring them on his side.

Rajapaksa is confident of 120 votes in the Parliament even though he needs just 113 to win. Sources added that the former Sri Lankan President was, however, want to win by a larger margin.

Rajapaksa was appointed as PM by President Maithripala Sirisena last week after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe. Soon after the appointment, Sirisena shut Parliament for three weeks to keep protesters at bay.

Wickremesinghe, who declared his shocking dismissal on Friday as illegal, ignored a deadline to vacate his official residence.

Rajapaksa on Sunday called for a snap parliamentary election to allow people to vote for a new plan to overcome the island nation's looming economic and political crisis. This was the first public statement by the former strongman since Sirisena appointed him as the new premier.

Rajapaksa’s aides said he was likely to name a few cabinet ministers but he is yet to make a formal statement or address the nation since being elevated to the new post.

The former strongman is a controversial figure at home and abroad and has presided over the crushing of a decade-long Tamil Tigers uprising.

He is seen to be a closer aide of China than Wickremesinghe, who instead had sought to re-establish stronger ties with traditional ally and regional power, India. The crisis has again put the Indian Ocean under international spotlight following the turmoil in neighboring Maldives during its presidential election.

India has said it is "closely following" events in Colombo. "As a democracy and a close friendly neighbour, we hope that democratic values and the constitutional process will be respected," foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Sunday.

He said India will continue to extend its developmental assistance to the “friendly people of Sri Lanka”. India has been involved in a number of projects in the island nation.​


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