Tamil Nadu BJP unit chief Pon Radhakrishnan said he had spoken to Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and she had "categorically" told him she had not invited Rajapakse. "There are wrong reports that Swaraj had invited him. To know the truth I spoke to her over phone and she categorically stated that she had not invited him," he said in a party statement in Chennai.
He said the authority to invite leaders of other countries rested only with the Centre. "The Centre is trying to shift the blame on BJP, despite our strong opposition to the visit of Rajapakse," he said.
The Sri Lankan president is scheduled to attend a Buddhist function at Sanchi in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh on September 21.
Vaiko had recently alleged that Rajapakse was invited by Swaraj and wrote to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, asking him to cancel the invitation.
Radhakrishnan insisted that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had invited Rajapakse, among others, including Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley for the function. "We oppose the visit of Rajapakse," he said and recalled that Swaraj had been part of various pro-Tamil initiatives, including meeting families of fishermen of Nagapattinam in the state who were killed allegedly by the Lankan navy.
Besides, she had led a protest in Delhi against the arrest of Indian fishermen in April 2011, he said. He expressed fears if Swaraj was being targeted deliberately to help the Centre, whom he accused of aiding Sri Lanka in its war against the LTTE in which scores of civilian Tamils were killed.