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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Vaiko meets Rajnath, protests Modi's invite to Rajapaksa

Agencies  New Delhi, May 23, 2014
First Published: 11:28 IST(23/5/2014) | Last Updated: 16:24 IST(23/5/2014)

Amid growing opposition from parties in Tamil Nadu, MDMK chief Vaiko on Friday met Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh and lodged his protest against an invitation extended to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for prime minister-designate Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26, reports said.

Vaiko was the first to raise the demand that Rajapaksa not be allowed to participate in Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

"Met Rajnath ji, told him that participation of Mahinda Rajapakse, the butcher of Tamils, will be saddest day for Tamils all over world," Vaiko was quoted as saying by ANI.

"Told Rajnath ji that please take up issue with Modi ji and avoid Mahinda Rajapakse's attendance in swearing in," he added.

According to reports, earlier in the day Rajapaksa tried to defuse the backlash in Tamil Nadu by inviting the chief minister of Tamil-dominated Northern Provinces to join the Lankan delegation.

Vigneswaran is yet to confirm acceptance of Rakapaksa's invitation, they added.

Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa also may skip Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, following the growing opposition to the new government’s invitation to Rajapaksa on the occasion.

India's ties with Sri Lanka had always been swayed by the domestic politics of Tamil Nadu.

But Modi, given the BJP majority in Parliament, is not dependent on Tamil parties to run the government and is expected to follow a more independent policy on Lanka.

The India-Sri Lanka ties, which had hit a rough patch over India's vote against Colombo at the UN Human Rights Council, have been on the mend.

Last time, India had abstained from the vote, much to the satisfaction of Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa, a nationalistic leader, was among the first leaders to reach out to Modi after election victory. But after an invitation was extended to him, Tamil Nadu erupted in protest.

On Thursday, the DMK, too, criticised the invitation and said it will hurt Tamil sentiments.

(With PTI and ANI inputs)


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