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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

India to host Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran next month

India is planning to host Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C. V. Wigneswaran next month. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had extended an invitation to Wigneswaran when he met him in Jaffna in October.

In his October 28 letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Wigneswaran wrote: “We had the fortune of meeting your Minister for External Affairs recently in Jaffna, where he extended a kind invitation to me to visit your great country.

“I shall most certainly avail myself of his kind offer at a mutually convenient time, when it will also be possible for me to meet Your Excellency.”

Details of Wigneswaran’s programme are still being worked out. It is not clear just yet if he will visit Chennai too to meet with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President Muthuvel Karunanidhi, among others.

Sources here say that inviting Wigneswaran to India in January, barely three months before the country goes to parliamentary elections, may give political dividends to the Congress Party, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government here, in Tamil Nadu.

The Congress does not have much of a presence in Tamil Nadu ever since the DMK ousted it from power in Tamil Nadu in 1967. For the past four decades, it has been aligning either with the DMK or Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK as a junior partner to fight parliamentary and state assembly polls to win a few (of the 39) Lok Sabha seats and some seats in the crucial southern state’s legislative assembly.

Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi never tire of accusing the UPA government of not doing enough for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. Karunanidhi, whose DMK was a member of the UPA, withdrew from the ruling coalition in March this year in protest against the Centre neglecting the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

It was because of vehement protests from Tamil Nadu political parties that Dr. Singh stayed away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo last month.

Hosting the Northern Provincial Council’s first elected Tamil Chief Minister will certainly deprive both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi an opportunity to lambast the Congress Party for “neglecting” the cause of the island’s Tamils.
by S Venkat Narayan,


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