New Delhi: BJP on Thursday rejected objections by Tamil parties to the invitation to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as also the Congress jibe over invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister for Narendra Modi`s swearing-in ceremony, saying it should be seen as a "celebration of democracy".
"This is essentially an attempt to participate in a joyful celebration of democracy and the invite should be seen in that context," BJP Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She said inviting SAARC countries is a responsible gesture for creating goodwill on the occasion when a newly-elected Prime Minister is being sworn in.
"We would certainly like to have our neighbours participate in this happy occasion," she said.
Asked about objections raised by certain NDA allies like MDMK on inviting Rajapaksa, she said, "I am sure they will understand the reason behind this invite."
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo said the "ill-advised" move of inviting Rajapaksa could have been avoided as it amounted to "rubbing salt into the wounds of the already deeply injured Tamil psyche".
DMK also said Modi could have "avoided" inviting the Sri Lankan President for his swearing-in ceremony and should "understand the feelings" of people of Tamil Nadu.
Congress, on the other hand, took a jibe at BJP over the invitation to Nawaz Sharif, reminding the party of its earlier remarks that terror and talks cannot go hand in hand.
"Throughout the election campaign, you saw a lot of anti- Pakistan rhetoric which was articulated by the BJP in a language which was extremly vociferous to say the least. And now you have this invitation to Prime Minister of Pakistan.
"So, therefore, it is for BJP to introspect as to whether terror and invitations can go hand in hand," Congress leader Manish Tewari told reporters here.