BJP to Enter Lankan Politics? By Tharaka Samman and Sandeep Tissaaratchy

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Chief Minister of India’s Tripura State, Biplab Deb, sparked off a controversy over the weekend when he revealed that Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah intended to establish Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Governments in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Chief Minister Kumar, addressing a political rally recently, claimed Home Affairs Minister Shah intends forming a BJP Government in Sri Lanka, to create an ‘Atmanirbhar South Asia,’ that was allegedly a success in making Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal self-reliant Nations.

“Amit Shah, who was then the BJP national president, had told us that the party was planning to expand its footprint and establish its rule in Nepal and Sri Lanka during a close interaction with several leaders at the state guesthouse here,” Biplab claimed.

Deb’s reference to Nepal and Sri Lanka drew a sharp response from the Congress which accused the BJP of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

“This attitude of BJP is anti-national and anti-democratic. We respect our neighbouring countries and there is no justification to interfere in the internal affairs of these countries,” vice-president of Tripura’s Congress unit Tapas De said told Hindustan Times yesterday (15).

Under fire over Deb’s comment, the BJP said it has been spreading Indian culture and philosophy in different countries.

BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya told ‘Hindustan Times’, “Our work to spread our Indian culture and philosophy in different countries apart from India started many days back. Contesting elections is not our prime agenda. We focus on winning the hearts of people of different countries.”

Responding to these controversial comments, Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Election Commission, Nimal Punchihewa, assured it is not possible for a foreign political party to contest in Sri Lankan elections.

Punchihewa, when contacted by Ceylon Today, said: “If they want to contest in Sri Lanka, they must form a party consisting of citizens of Sri Lanka, work continuously for four to five years as a party, before contesting an election. No matter how strong the party is, it is only then that they will be a legitimate party. Without it, no matter how strong a party is, they cannot form a branch here.”

When queried regarding the possibility for the BJP to join a major Sri Lankan political party, the Chairman said it cannot be done according to Sri Lankan law, which clearly mentions that alliances can only be formed between two local parties and not with any foreign political party.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 14 February, commented about his visit to Jaffna and his pride in creating history as the first Indian Prime Minister to have made that trip.

Modi highlighted his Government’s intentions in enriching the Tamil community through various infrastructure projects which have already improved the housing, health, and transportation facilities of the district.

He also reiterated his concern over the Indian fishermen’s past arrests and was thankful of his Government’s efforts to have freed all fishermen that were in Sri Lankan custody.

Modi stated that his Government will continue their efforts to release fishing boats.

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Disclaimer: BJP to Enter Lankan Politics? By Tharaka Samman and Sandeep Tissaaratchy - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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