- BJP To Push For Power Devolution
India’s BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has issued a veiled threat to Sri Lanka during speeches made over the past few days at election rallies in Tamil Nadu, indicating he will be tough with Sri Lanka if he wins the ongoing Indian elections.
Modi has said that with Tamils living all over the world, including in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji, it should be a priority of the Indian government to take care of their well being and he promised to do so if a BJP-led Government assumes power after the elections.
The Press Trust of India quoted Modi as saying at an election rally in Chennai that a strong and determined government was the need of the hour as small countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh were poking India and have to be met eye-on-eye and dealt with strongly.
Playing the emotive issue of recurring attacks on fishermen, Modi charged that the UPA government in India lacked the courage to protect the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat who were being ‘harassed’ by Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, at a separate rally last week, Modi said that he would do everything for the welfare of Tamil Nadu fishermen and will protect them from attacks by the Sri Lankan navy.
The Times of India quoted him as saying at a public meeting in Ramanathapuram that fishermen in his state (Gujarat) faced attacks by the Pakistani navy, just like the fisher folk in Tamil Nadu allegedly came under attack by the Sri Lankan navy. He blamed the Centre for the continuing attacks on Indian fishermen by the navies of the neighbouring countries. The ‘weak government at the Centre’ failed to protect fishermen in the country, he said.
The BJP meanwhile also said it will push for early devolution of powers and a political settlement in Sri Lanka if it wins the ongoing elections in India, The Hindu newspaper reported.
BJP president Rajnath Singh, speaking at an election rally in Tiruchi last week, said that the rainbow alliance forged by the BJP has emerged as a major political force and would provide an alternative to the people of Tamil Nadu.
Accusing the Congress-led UPA government of failing to help the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, he said there was no progress in devolution of powers as per the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka. “The UPA lacked the diplomatic skills to handle such sensitive issues,” he said and added that the BJP, on coming to power, would strive for early devolution of powers and a political settlement.