Business Wire India
Sri Lanka was once known as the land of smiles. Admittedly, over the last four years, one does not encounter many people smiling on the streets of this lush green island. It seems that there is a good chance that following the November 16 election, smiles may be back. That’s what Gotabaya Rajapaksa, alias GR, a strong yet sensitive and “green” leader aspires to. And he looks most likely to achieve it.
He is the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who lost the 2015 election after having served two terms as President. A constitutional amendment introduced by the Government precludes anybody from serving more than two terms – hence, Mahinda could not run again.
Gotabaya, his younger brother, is not a novice in politics. He became renowned for ending the war against terrorism as Defense secretary. He also held a portfolio of public works and much of the country’s modern infrastructure (as well as several landmark buildings) carry GR’s signature.
All this is signified by a “carbon neutral campaign” which has set new standards in environmentally responsible political contests. Run by his brother, Basil Rajapaksa, and supported by a group of young technocrats, GR not only has reduced the use of paper to the absolute minimum, but has calculated the overall carbon footprint of his campaign. Having also calculated the carbon equivalent, his supporters have embarked on a concerted tree-planting frenzy in order to offset any strain put on the environment by the campaign. Admirable indeed!
The environment is undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka’s great assets. By increasing public awareness on the need to preserve it, GR is signifying that his plan for economic development goes hand-in-hand with his vision of a clean Sri Lanka, world-renowned for its organic farming.
GR’s vision about equal opportunities and equality before the law, is summed up by his quote: “When I talk about prosperity I think of the whole country. Nobody shall be left behind. Those who stand to gain more from the development of Sri Lanka are those who today are the most deprived.”
GR’s economic policies, laid down in an 85- page manifesto, aim “to guarantee a better life for each and everyone”.
His manifesto includes an extensive chapter on education as GR places particular emphasis on the skills of the young. His vision is to pave the ground for an internationally competitive Sri Lanka. And for “every new generation to live better than the previous generation”.