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PM to take final call on attending CHOGM as pressure mounts

November 04, 2013 20:26 IST

Congress on Monday left it to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a call on attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka amid a political controversy over the issue in view of the alleged atrocities against ethnic Tamils there.

"The prime minister will take a decision after consultations...We do not give our opinion just like that. This is not appropriate.

"This is a sensitive matter. Congress party's view on such sensitive issue is firmed up in consultations with government. Whatever is the government's opinoin will be our opinion," party spokesperson Meem Afzal responding to a volley of questions on the issue.

The party's response came on a day when voices within the Cabinet grew louder against the prime minister visiting Sri Lanka with two more ministers saying that he should not attend the CHOGM in view of alleged atrocities against ethnic Tamils.

Minister of State in the PMO V.Narayanasamy and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan came out openly to oppose the prime minister's proposed visit, joining their Cabinet colleague G.K.Vasan.

However, at the same time, another Congress leader from Tamil Nadu S Natchiappan, who is Minister of State for Commerce, has been striking a different note.

He said the prime minister should visit Sri Lanka for the welfare of Lankan Tamils.

Political parties and various outfits in Tamil Nadu are strongly opposed to India's participation in the CHOGM and Tamil Nadu assembly recently adopted a resolution demanding New Delhi completely boycott it and also Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth till Colombo ensured equal status for Tamils.

Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse during the latter’s visit to New Delhi in 2010

Photograph: B Mathur/Reuters


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