New Delhi: Presidential elections in Sri Lanka are a little over a month away. Expectedly, India is keeping a close eye on the electoral battle in the Indian Ocean island nation where Chinese footprints have grown in recent years. Until recently, former Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is also the younger brother of former Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, appeared to be the front-runner. This was especially so given his strongman image—he’s credited with bringing Tamil insurgency to an end—and Lankans’ desire for stability after the Easter Sunday terror strikes earlier this year. But the pitch has been queered somewhat for Gotabaya who belongs to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with the recent entry of Sajith Premadasa of the United National Party (UNP). In this chat with Deputy Editor Parul Chandra, SNI Editor-in-Chief Nitin Gokhale gives the lowdown on the current electoral scene in Sri Lanka. He notes that with Sajith, who is the son of former Sri Lankan President R. Premadasa (he was assassinated in 1993), throwing his hat in the ring, the poll contest has become more interesting. He also says that the minority votes of Tamils and Muslims will play a crucial role in determining who Sri Lanka’s next president will be.