The Madhya Pradesh government is all set to accord a warm reception to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Sanchi on Friday even as MDMK chief Vaiko and hundreds of his supporters continue their roadside dharna at Pandhurna in Chhindwara district near the MP-Maharashtra border.
"Vaiko is my friend. We have worked together in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). That’s why I welcomed him with a bouquet,” said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan late Thursday afternoon. When asked why the “friend” was not being allowed to come to Sanchi, Chouhan replied: “Raj dharma” (a ruler’s duty). He, however, added that all efforts would be made so as not to arrest the Tamil leader.
Justifying the state’s invitation to Rajapaksa to lay foundation stone of the world’s first Buddhist university at Sanchi on Friday, the chief minister said that the institution would offer peaceful solutions to problems not only confronting the region but the entire world.
Vaiko and his followers have been protesting vehemently against the presence of the Lankan president on the ground that he was responsible for the mass murder of Tamils during the civil war in the island nation. Unmoved by Chouhan’s bouquet and message of friendship, he is adamant to take his protest to Sanchi.
What has caused massive worries for the administration is the fact that Tamil activists are streaming into the state through various points and modes of transport. Seven MDMK supporters reached as far as Vidisha, barely six kilometers from Sanchi, and around ten suspected activists reached Bhopal by air on Thursday. Some of them were sporting T-shirts with photos of the late LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran.
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoser Thinley, the first-ever democratically elected prime minister of Bhutan, visited Bhopal on Thursday. He met the chief minister, governor and discussed various issues of mutual interest with them.