When Namal Met NaMo…
Posted on October 20th, 2021

By Rediff News Bureau

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was supposed to be on the first flight to land at Kushinagar airport on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 — at least so the buzz went — for an India-Sri Lanka summit, but when the special Sri Lankan Air flight arrived at Uttar Pradesh’s brand new (fourth) international airport, out stepped a Rajapaksa.

Only it was not Gota or his elder brother Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, but the Sri Lankan prime minister’s eldest son Namal Rajapaksa.

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Namal, 35, is Sri Lanka’s youth and sports minister — Anurag Thakur would be his Indian ministerial equivalent, not the mighty prime minister of India (does that explain the rather displeased look Modi wears in the photographs below?) — but he is said to be his father’s likely successor before eventually ascending to the presidency which his uncle holds currently.

Last year, Galle MP Manusha Nanayakkara told the Sri Lankan parliament that Rajapaksa family run ministries had 29 percent of all statutory bodies in the country under their grip.

The Island newspaper quoted Nanayakkara as saying: ‘The President and Prime Minister are from the same family. There are two cabinet ministers from that family — Chamal and Namal Rajapaksa.
Sahsindra Rajapaksa is a state minister.
Chairman of the District Development Council is Nipuna Ranawaka.
The Prime Minister has three Cabinet portfolios – Buddha Sasana, Finance and Housing and Urban Development.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has 23 institutions.
The Prime Minister has 49 under the Finance Ministry, 11 under the Buddha Sasana and six under the Urban Development ministry. He has 66 institutions under him.
Namal Rajapaksa has seven. Sashindra has six.
In addition seven other institutions including BOI, Telecom, Telecommunications and Regulations are under the COVID -19 task force under Basil Rajapaksa.
There is one Shipping industry state minister who does not have a single institution under him because he is not a member of the Rajapaksa family.’:)))

Since some political observers believe that Modi will be prime minister through this decade, the next time Namal comes to this country, he could well wear the title of prime minister or president!

Please click on the images for a better look at the NaMo-Namal encounter.

IMAGE: Namal gifts NaMo a Sinhala version of the Bhagavad Gita. All Photographs: Press Information Bureau

IMAGE: Namal arrived with a flight full of Buddhist monks, some of who met Modi in Kushinagar.

IMAGE: Ever seen Modi look so glum when meeting a foreign visitor? Namal’s dad, like Modi, is a huge grin-hugging politician.

Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/Rediff.com

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