The Bharatiya Janata Party is mobilising funds from the public in Chennai for providing relief to the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, according to L. Ganesan, member of the national executive committee of the party.
Talking to newspersons here on Friday, Mr. Ganesan said the fund-raising campaign in Chennai would go on till August 25 on which date functionaries of the Tamil Nadu State BJP committee would make street campaigns to collect funds from the public. Later, the campaign would be taken up in other districts, and ultimately, the money collected handed over to Seva International, a recognised international voluntary organisation, which is engaged in providing relief to the displaced Tamils in the island nation.
During his recent visit to Chennai, BJP president Nitin Gadkari announced the contribution of Rs.10 lakh for relief to the Lankan Tamils, Mr. Ganesan said.
The issue of providing relief to the displaced Tamils fell within the purview of the External Affairs Ministry. Therefore, all political parties in Tamil Nadu, which are working for the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils, could only urge the Centre to do the needful.
The Congress and the BJP are the only national parties capable of doing it. But, Mr. Ganesan alleged, the Congress would not do anything in this regard because when Opposition parties urged the United Progressive Alliance government to take steps to prevent the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the UPA government offered support to the Sri Lankan government in its fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
On the agitation launched by social activist Anna Hazare for a strong Lokpal Bill, Mr. Ganesan said the UPA government could not be depended upon to bring a strong Bill as the Congress was keen only on defending the corrupt Union Ministers in Parliament whenever the Opposition raised the issue. The Union government took action against the corrupt only after the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Ganesan denied the accusations that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were behind the movement of Anna Hazare.
Asked about the call given by MDMK general secretary Vaiko to all political parties to appeal to the Chief Minister unanimously to urge the Centre to annul the death sentence of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Mr. Ganesan said the BJP central committee alone could discuss the issue and take a decision.
The Tamil Nadu state unit of the BJP would consider the issue after knowing the view of the central BJP, he said.
Asked about the agitation by private bus operators protesting against the “exorbitant hike” in user fee levied on them in user fee plazas in Pallikonda and Vaniyambadi, Mr. Ganesan said the BJP condemned the hike. While the levy of user fee was justified to recover the cost of big road projects such as those undertaken by the National Highways Authority of India, it was unjust on the part of the Centre to have empowered private companies to collect the fee.