Sri Lankan president ends Shimla visit


Shimla : Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday left for New Delhi after a one-and-a-half-day private visit to this Himachal Pradesh state capital.

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“President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his wife Shiranthi, their family members, and ministers and other dignitaries accompanying him left in choppers of the Indian Air Force for Chandigarh this (Friday) morning, from where he would again fly to New Delhi,” Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Rajeev Bindal told IANS.

Rajapaksa boarded the chopper at the Annadale helipad of the Indian Army here.

One of his aides said: “The visit of Rajapaksa was quite a memorable one and relaxing too.”

Rajapaksa reached here Thursday morning and stayed at the Oberoi Group’s heritage hotel Wildflower Hall on the outskirts of the town.

On Thursday afternoon, Rajapaksa and his colleagues went for a short trek near Wildflower Hall, while his wife Shiranthi spent more than two hours strolling through the streets of the town.

“It is nice and homely to be in this town,” Shiranthi Rajapaksa told IANS while taking a casual stroll on the Mall, the main street of this former British summer capital.

“This is my first visit to the town and the hill state too. It’s, of course, a memorable one,” she added.

Shiranthi Rajapaksa also took back some woollens from the shops, especially shawls.

Visibly satisfied with the hospitality of the local people, she remarked: “Look at the overwhelming response of the people.”

Later in the evening, the couple attended a reception hosted by Governor Urmila Singh in the Barnes Court (Raj Bhavan). Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal too attended the reception.