BJP concerned about Lankan Tamils but non-committal on CHOGM

The BJP on Thursday expressed concern over the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils but remained non- committal on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend the CHOGM Summit in Colombo.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 07, 2013, 20:44 PM IST

New Delhi: The BJP on Thursday expressed concern over the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils but remained non- committal on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend the CHOGM Summit in Colombo.

BJP chief Rajnath Singh held detailed deliberations on the issue with party leaders from Tamil Nadu, sources said.

They said Singh gave a patient hearing to BJP Tamil Nadu chief Pon Radhakrishnan and leaders Ganeshan and Lakshmanan on the issue. These leaders demanded that the party should put pressure on the government that prime minister should not attend the CHOGM to be held from November 15-17.

"The BJP president held detailed deliberations with them on the matter and heard the Tamil Nadu unit leaders. The party is concerned about the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka," a party leader said.

However, BJP is non-committal on whether the prime minister should visit Sri Lanka.

"We are watching the developments closely," a source said.

Earlier, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari had told a newspaper that the prime minister should attend the meet.

Though BJP has virtually no stakes in Tamil Nadu politics, it does not want to antagonise the state parties and the people ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, sources said.

BJP is also in touch with AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and is hopeful that the party will join the NDA after the polls if the coalition is in a position to form the government.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had visited Sri Lanka to meet displaced Tamilians after the war between the Mahinda Rajapakshe government and the LTTE ended. She has raised the issue of their plight in Parliament and demanded that India take up the matter with Sri Lanka.

She has also voiced concern over the killing of Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy.

However, BJP`s Tamil Nadu unit is hopeful.

"We have urged our party president that India should not participate in CHOGM and the Prime Minister must not go to Sri Lanka," Ganesan told a news agency. He added that India`s presence at CHOGM would legitimise the alleged atrocities by the island nation against ethnic Tamils.