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Rajapaksa says 2015 Lanka budget his peace dividend

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Countering opposition accusations that the 2015 government budget is an election sop which pledged handouts, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today it was the dividend of his efforts to achieve peace in Sri Lanka.

"It (the budget) was the result of the government's development drive and economic management," Rajapaksa said addressing an educational gathering.

"It is our way of giving people the dividend," Rajapaksa stressed.

The Sri Lankan president who is also the finance minister announced a package of economic concessions while presenting the annual budget speech last week.

He announced tax cuts and salary hikes including enhanced pension benefits - moves widely seen as wooing of the voting public.

Rajapaksa is expected to announce a snap presidential election a year ahead of schedule by next January.

He seeks a third term in office on the strength of his military success in ending the over three-decade armed separatist campaign mounted by the LTTE Tamil rebels.

After a non-too-happy performance by his ruling coalition in a provincial poll held last month, Rajapaksa appeared to handout election goodies in the budget for 2015 targeting the snap presidential poll, the opposition charged.

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First Published: Mon, October 27 2014. 21:20 IST