BJP denies Sushma Swaraj invited Rajapakse for function in MP

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Sushma Swaraj
Chennai, Sept 5: BJP today denied allegations of some pro-Tamil leaders, including MDMK leader Vaiko that party leader Sushma Swaraj had invited Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for an official event in Madhya Pradesh on Sept 21.

State unit chief Pon Radhakrishnan said he had spoken to Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and she had "categorically" told him that she had not invited Rajapaksa.

"There are wrong reports that Swaraj had invited him. To know the truth I spoke to her over the phone and she categorically stated that she had not invited him," he said in a party statement here.

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 Rajapaksa," he said.

The Sri Lankan President is scheduled to attend a Buddhist function at Sanchi in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh on Sept 21.

Vaiko had recently alleged that Rajapaksa 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 UPA government had invited Rajapaksa, among others, including Bhutan Prime Minister for the function.

"We oppose the visit of Rajapaksa," 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 Lankan navy.

Besides, she had led a protest in Delhi against the arrest of Indian fishermen in Apr 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 LTTE in which scores of civilian Tamils were killed.

PTI

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