‘Ranil was as unpopular as the Rajapaksas, I’m afraid…’: Chidambaram explains why Sri Lanka crisis may worsen further

P Chidambaram

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram (PTI)

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and central minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s election as President of Sri Lanka may further worsen the crisis in the island nation. He said Ranil was as unpopular as the Rajapaksas.

“The protest movement was directed against him too. I am afraid his election as President of Sri Lanka will not end the protests nor usher in unity and peace. I am worried that the turbulence in Sri Lanka may continue and the economic crisis worsens,” he said in a tweet.

Sri Lanka has been facing the worst economic crisis, with millions unable to find cooking gas, fuel and other essential items as the country is running short on forex reserves to import them. The crisis started early this year and the people demanded then President Gotabaya step down and form a unity government to get out of the crisis.

They did not have trust in Gotabaya as they believed that it was his bad economic decisions that had landed the country into a mess. Under pressure from the people, Gotabaya got his brother and then PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign and appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the next Prime Minister.

Ranil took over as PM on May 12 but there was no sign that the situation was improving. This led to a fresh round of protest on the streets of Colombo, and this time, the protesters stormed the Presidential palace and set Ranil’s residence on fire. The angry protesters said they wanted both the leaders gone.

While Gotabaya fled the country, Ranil stayed on and became the interim President. On Tuesday, he was elected the President by the Parliament. As people have been demanding the resignation of Ranil, there are chances that protesters may hit the streets again and Chidambaram too has this fear.

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