Resume Talks With TNA, BJP Urges Lanka

1188COLOMBO: Muralidhar Rao, general secretary of the BJP in-charge of Tamil Nadu, and Vijay Jolly, global convener of the BJP’s overseas affairs committee, have appealed to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to “immediately” resume talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

An immediate resumption of talks is vital for lasting peace in Sri Lanka, they told Rajapaksa at a 45-minute meeting here on Friday.

The BJP leaders said that PM Narendra Modi’s policy of taking everybody on board for the common good, encapsulated in the slogan ‘Sabka Sath-Sabka Vikas’, was appropriate for the Lankan situation and “repeatedly” urged the Lankan President to adopt it.

On fishermen issue, the BJP leaders appreciated the release of arrested fishermen even as they demanded the release of trawlers. In his response, the President said that Indian fishermen should stop bottom trawling.

Briefing Express on the meeting with Rajapaksa, Rao  said that the BJP delegation told the President politely but forcefully, that if the elected CM of the Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran, is given a raw deal, people in India will naturally have sympathy with him.

The President was told that if the CM cannot get along with his Chief Secretary (CS) and vice versa, it should be possible for him (as an Executive President) to change the CS. “The CM should be allowed to get going. The bureaucracy should be asked to support him and adequate finances should be allocated,” Rao said.

The BJP leaders told the President that India favours a “resolution through devolution”. This recipe cannot be alien to Lanka because a devolution package is already there in the 13th amendment and Rajapaksa has himself promised to go beyond it, they said.

Asked about Rajapaksa’s reaction, Rao said: “On every issue he was positive. Fundamentally, he was in agreement with us. There is no serious misunderstanding on the objectives, for, after all, India wants a resolution of the Tamil problem within a united Lanka.”

Rajapaksa was positive about talking to the TNA, though he did complain that the Tamil Diaspora is controlling it.

He also said he has some political compulsions arising from the need to keep his constituency intact. But Rao and Jolly said that a leader should not only go by public opinion but also shape opinion.