Daily Archives: September 21, 2014

Sri Lanka Ruling Coalition Narrowly Survives Vote Test

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition has narrowly survived a keen challenge mounted by the opposition in a key provincial election, in a major blow to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had campaigned personally for the party.

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) retained the Uva or the south-eastern provincial council by securing 19 out of 34 seats that went to the polls yesterday, but saw an unprecedented 22.98 percentage points drop in its popularity.

Main opposition United National Party’s vote almost doubled, with the party winning 13 seats. The JVP or People’s Liberation Front won 2 seats.

The UPFA had 25 seats previously. The drop in votes and in the number of seats compared with the previous election in 2009 for the ruling party was much significant.

The UNP’s surge of over 100,000 votes in comparison was a major outcome for the faction ridden main opposition party.

For Rajapaksa, who took active part in campaigning in the election for his nephew and the incumbent chief minister, the result could not come as an inspiration.

He is widely expected to call for a snap presidential polls to seek a third successive term early next year.

A bitter pill for the Rajpaksa was the drop in vote at Moneragala, a predominantly rural majority Sinhala district. He saw vote drop to 58 per cent from 81 per cent at Moneragala.

In the multi-ethnic Badulla district with a large population of Indian-origin people, the ruling coalition’s vote dropped to 47 per cent from 67 per cent.

TNIE

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US Senate wants Modi visit called US-India Partnership Day

The US Senate has passed with a unanimous vote a resolution designating Sep 30, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the White House, as US-India Partnership Day.

Introduced by Mark R. Warner and John Cornyn, Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the US Senate’s bipartisan India Caucus respectively, the resolution highlights the bilateral commitment to furthering the US-India relationship.

The resolution emphasises the mutual benefits of a thriving US-India partnership, stressing the importance of increasing collaboration in order to promote stability, democracy, and economic prosperity in the 21st century, according to a release from Warner’s office.

“I am proud to sponsor this resolution celebrating the partnership between the US and India. We have already seen progress in the relationship in the first 100 days of Prime Minister Modi’s administration, and I believe there is an opportunity to continue making progress that will benefit both of our countries,” said Warner.

“From energy, to defence, to counterterrorism, to trade, the United States and India have many overlapping national interests. As our trade relationship continues to grow, increasing export opportunities to India will create more jobs for Americans back here at home.”

Warner had also published a “First 100-Days” plan that outlined 12 recommendations for action, seven of which have already been adopted by both governments. “As the world’s two largest democracies, the US-India relationship remains one of the most important partnerships in the world,” said Cornyn.

“We warmly welcome Prime Minister Modi to the United States and are hopeful we can work together to grow our relationship and identify areas we can strengthen in the years to come.

“As the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, I look forward to continuing to help the US-India partnership reach its full potential,” said Cornyn.

DH

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Did Not Wish Modi on Birthday Due to Xi’s Gujarat Visit: Rajapaksa

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COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa told two visiting BJP leaders that he deliberately refrained from wishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday because he did not want to disturb the Premier with Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Gujarat.

BJP national secretary P Muralidhar Rao and the party’sglobal convenor of overseas affairs Vijay Jolly held a 45-minute meeting with Rajapaksa at the Presidential Palace here.

Rajapaksa politely told the visiting BJP leaders that he deliberately did not wish Prime Minister Modi on his birthday on September 17 because he did not want to disturb him during Xi’s visit, a BJP statement said.

It said that the Sri Lankan President, however, said he shall wish belated happy birthday to the Indian Prime Minister at the United Nations soon.

The statement said the role and stance of Prime Minister Modi on the concept of “Sabka Sath-Sabka Vikas” was repeatedly stressed by the BJP leaders in their friendly advice to the Sri Lankan government on the vexed Tamil question.

The two leaders discussed a wide-range of issues, particularly relating to ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka in the meeting with Rajapaksa.

They are in Colombo, participating in the Asian Political Parties conference attended by 41 Nations and 360 Political Parties of Asia.

TNIE

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