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Cong leadership meets to discuss PM's participation in CHOGM

Nov 08, 2013 12:20 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: Congress top leaders met on Friday to decide on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should participate in Commonwealth Heads of Government
(CHOGM) meet in Sri Lanka.

A meeting of the Congress Core Group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi deliberated over the issue for more than one hour and a decision is likely to be announced shortly.

Political parties and various groups in Tamil Nadu are strongly opposed to India's participation in the summit and the Tamil Nadu Assembly recently adopted a resolution demanding a complete boycott of the event alleging that Sri Lanka has indulged in atrocities against ethnic Tamils.

The government is in a dilemma over the issue with some sections feeling that the Prime Minister's absence at the CHOGM could affect India's image internationally and hence he must participate.

The issue was discussed last month also by the Core Group and Union Ministers P Chidambaram and AK Antony are learnt to have suggested that the PM should not visit Colombo to attend the meet. Congress has so far refused to publically take a stand on the politically-sensitive issue.

The party has said it will back whatever decision the Prime Minister takes on India's participation in the summit keeping in mind national interests. Union ministers V Narayanasamy, Jayanthi Natarajan and GK Vasan have publicly opposed the Prime Minister's participation in the summit.

MEA has been favouring Singh's visit to Sri Lanka for CHOGM, maintaining that it was vital for him to be present at this meet as it will reflect India's interests and is also paramount to the nation's strategic and security interests. The officials are also keen that the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to visit Northern Province where India has given lot of assistance.

Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council CV Vigneswaran has already written to Singh, inviting him to Jaffna and expressed his gratitude for Indian assistance.

(With additional information from PTI)