MDMK chief Vaiko, an NDA ally, today opposed the invitation extended to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony and asked the Prime Minister-designate as well as BJP President Rajnath Singh to reconsider the decision. The Tamil leader met Modi here in the presence of BJP leaders Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley. "Rajapksa is the butcher of Tamils. Mr Modi should reconsider the decision to invite him (for the swearing-in ceremony on May 26)," Vaiko told reporters after meeting Modi.
Asked what was Modi's response, Vaiko did not say anything, indicating that he got no assurance. He had written a letter to Modi on this issue yesterday, expressing his sadness over the invitation being extended to Rajapaksa for the event. He made an interesting allegation that it was Congress which wanted Rajapaksa to come to Delhi. "Congress wants Rajapaksa to come to India so that they could blame BJP for the plight of Tamils. ...BJP leaders from Tamil Nadu are also very upset with the decision of Modi," he said and urged the BJP to ensure that the Tamils' interests are protected.
According to him, Jaitley said the concerns of Tamils is a national issue.
Ealier in the day, he met BJP President Rajnath Singh and demanded that the party should "avoid" the presence of Rajapaksa at Modi's swearing-in ceremony. Vaiko said he had requested Singh to take up the issue with the Prime Minister-designate.
Recalling that no Sri Lankan Head of State was invited when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister, Vaiko pointed out that even Manmohan Singh had not invited the Sri Lankan President for his swearing in ceremony. "They did not dare to invite Mahinda Rajapaksa to the swearing in ceremony in 2004 and 2009," he added.
Reacting to suggestions that SAARC leaders were invited as part of the mission to improve ties, Vaiko wondered what was the "diplomatic necessity when hundreds of thousands of Tamils were murdered" in Sri Lanka' "In Geneva, at the Human Rights Council, most of the countries adopted a resolution moved by US and UK seeking an independent international investigation against the Sri Lankan Government for the crimes of genocide," he stated.
However, Vaiko refused to reply to queries on whether he would be boycotting the swearing-in ceremony in the event of Rajapaksa participating. "I am waiting what decision Narendra Modi will take," he merely said.