New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (August 6) spoke to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa and congratulated him as early results of recently held parliamentary elections indicate an impressive electoral performance by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.
Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked PM Modi through social media and tweeted, "Thank you PM @narendramodi for your congratulatory phone call. With the strong support of the people of #SriLanka, I look forward to working with you closely to further enhance the long-standing cooperation between our two countries. Sri Lanka & India are friends & relations."
Thank you PM @narendramodi for your congratulatory phone call. With the strong support of the people of #SriLanka, I look forward to working with you closely to further enhance the long-standing cooperation between our two countries. Sri Lanka & India are friends & relations. pic.twitter.com/9YPLAQuVlE
— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) August 6, 2020
Both the leaders have reportedly agreed to remain in close touch as both countries address the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic and resolved to take bilateral relations to newer heights in the coming days.
A PMO release said that the Prime Minister commended the government and the electoral institutions of Sri Lanka for effectively organising elections despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PM Modi also appreciated Sri Lankan people for their enthusiastic participation in the elections and said that this reflected the strong democratic values shared by both countries.
"Prime Minister Modi noted that the incoming results of the elections indicate an impressive electoral performance by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party and conveyed his congratulations and best wishes to Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa in this regard," the release said.
Notably, the preliminary results of Wednesday`s parliamentary election show that the SLPP appeared to be heading for a landslide win in the country.
"The leaders agreed to remain in close touch as both countries address the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic and resolved to take bilateral relations to newer heights in the coming days," the release added.
Rajapaksa clan heading for landslide win
Sri Lanka's strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa was poised to stage a political comeback on Thursday as his party took an unassailable lead and was set for a landslide victory in the twice-postponed general elections, according to results announced so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Rajapaksa on the outcome of the elections.
The SLPP has polled more votes than its rivals, scoring over 60 per cent of the total votes in the 16 seats officially declared so far from the South, dominated by the Sinhala majority community. The party won 13 out of 16 seats.
Unofficial results indicate that the SLPP would comfortably win at least 17 out of the 22 districts on offer. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a tweet described the results as a "magnificent victory" for the ruling party.
The nearest rival is the new party formed by former presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa who has relegated his mother party, the United National Party (UNP), of former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to the fourth place even below the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The SJB has won only three seats from both districts.
Wickremesinghe's party is struggling to reach the five per cent mark needed to qualify for any seat in the entire island. He is facing the danger of losing his parliamentary seat for the first time since July 1977.
In the polling division results from other districts where counting is in progress, the SLPP has taken unassailable leads, sources told PTI.
In the Tamil minority dominated north, the main Tamil party - Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - despite bagging a few polling divisions had also suffered unexpected reversals at the hands of SLPP's Tamil allies - the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP).
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya hopes for a two-thirds majority for the SLPP so that he can amend the Constitution to restore presidential powers curbed by a 2015 constitutional change.