Basil Rajapaksa, the silent force behind Government | Sunday Observer

Basil Rajapaksa, the silent force behind Government

11 July, 2021

Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Shasheendra Rajapaksa and Mohan De Silva accept their respective portfolios from
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera was also present at the swearing in ceremony

Basil Rajapaksa, the founder of the Sri Lanka Podujana Perumana (SLPP) and the silent force behind the present Government took his oaths as Minister of Finance before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday, July, 8.

He was later sworn in as an MP before the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, fulfilling wishes of the members of his party.

Basil Rajapksa entered Parliament for the first time in 2007 as a national list MP. In 2010 he contested the election under the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ticket and was elected as a member of Parliament from Gampaha district polling the highest number of votes.


He was later appointed as the Economic Development Minister by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a portfolio which he held until the Yahapalana government led by President Maithripala Sirisena took over in 2015.

As the then Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa succeeded in bringing development to almost all sectors which included tourism, export, agriculture, and industries, raising the annual growth rate of the country above percent.

He was the key force behind President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election campaign in 2019 and bringing the current SLPP led government to power in 2020. With the reshuffle of Finance Ministry portfolio, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn-in as the Minister of Economic Policies and Planning. National List SLPP Member of Parliament Jayantha Ketagoda resigned from his parliamentary seat early last week to make way for Basil Rajapaksa’s entry.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam submitted Basil Rajapaksa’s name to the Elections Commission to fill the created vacancy. The Elections Commission issued the Gazette notification on Wednesday, announcing his appointment as an MP.


“Basil Rajapaksa spearheaded a number of government initiatives in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and played a pivotal role as a member of the Committee to Combat Covid-19,” the President’s Office said in a media release on Thursday.

He is also the Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation and the Presidential Task Force on Creating a Green Sri Lanka with Sustainable Solutions to Climate Change.

Minister Namal Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President, Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Senior Advisor, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gamini Senarath and Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s wife Pushpa Rajapaksa were also present during the swearing-in ceremony.

The new Finance Minister then arrived at the Parliament in a motorcade to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament by the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena at around 10.00 am.

Government MPs honoured him with a standing ovation when he was escorted to the Speaker’s side for the swearing in. Along the way he paused a moment to bow and respect his brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

The new Finance Minister then left for his office straightaway to assume duties a little after 11.00am. In a subsequent press conference, he said, he would work hard to salvage the pandemic hit economy and ease the people’s economic hardships.


Yet, he said, some of the initial decisions will be unpopular. “I will have to take harsh decisions just like a father would do for the benefit of the family’s future.” He assured these decisions will bring in long term benefits to the people and the country.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa was the silent force behind the success of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Governments led by his brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 and 2010. Born in 1951, Rajapaksa received his secondary education at Isipathana College, Colombo and Ananda College, Colombo.

Following the footsteps of his father, D.A. Rajapaska, a former Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Basil Rajapaksa made his debut appearance on the political platform by contesting the Mulkirigala Electorate from the SLFP at the 1977 General Election.

His father hailing from Giriwapattuwa played a pivotal role in forming the SLFP with former Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.

Along with the appointment of Basil Rajapaksa, two State Ministry Portfolios were also reshuffled. As a result two State Ministers were sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (8) afternoon.


Shasheendra Rajapaksa was sworn in as the State Minister of Organic Fertiliser Production, Supply and Regulation of Paddy and Grains, Organic Food, Vegetables, Fruits, Chillies, Onions and Potatoes Cultivation Promotion, Seed Production and Advanced Technology for Agriculture.

Mohan De Silva was sworn in as the State Minister of Coast Conservation and Low-Lying Lands Development, a portfolio earlier held by State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa.

Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera was present at the swearing in ceremony of the two state Ministers.