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Brief Report on Sri Lanka Trip by BJP National Gen. Sec. P. Muralidhar Rao & OFBJP Convener Vijay Jolly

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New Delhi (Sept 28, 2014): A two member BJP delegation comprising BJP National General Secretary Shri. Muralidhar Rao and Global Convenor BJP Overseas Affairs Shri. Vijay Jolly represented the ruling party of India at the Asian Political Parties meet at Colombo from 18th to 23rd Sep 2014.

The ICAPP meet at Sri Lanka was attended by political parties from 41 Asian countries. International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) was founded in September 2000 with the objective to promote exchanges & cooperation among Asian Political Parties. The Ex. Speaker of Philippines Mr. Jose De Venecia is the Founding Chairman while Secretary General is Mr. Chung Eui Yong Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee of Democratic Party of Republic of Korea. The theme of Colombo conference was “Building an Asian Community”.

BJP National Gen. Sec. Muralidhar Rao and Global Convenor BJP Overseas Affairs Vijay Jolly presented written papers & speech at the ICAPP meet. The National Congress party of India was represented by Shri. Anil Shastri Ex. Gen. Sec. & son of Former Prime Minister of India Late Lal Bahadur Shastri.

The BJP leaders at the ICAPP Colombo conference were popular among all the present delegates. OFBJP Convenor Shri. Vijay Jolly was co-opted as a Standing Committee member of ICAPP at Colombo. The other SCM from India is Congress MP Dr. Karan Singh. The BJP leader Shri. Vijay Jolly also served in the Final Colombo Declaration Draft Preparatory Committee ICAPP-2014.    

Speech of All India BJP President Shri. Amit Shah’s National Council were distributed at the ICAPP meet. Saffron lotus scarf’s of BJP were presented to the Asian political parties. It is worth mentioning here that apart from BJP, no other political party of Asia show cased their leadership and its ideology in this magnificent manner. Books on the life & time of Indian Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi were also presented to select leaders at the ICAPP meet.

The ICAPP Colombo meet was inaugurated by President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksha and was addressed by President of Maldives H.E. Abdulla Yameen, LOP Sri Lanka H.E. Ranil Wickramasighe, Foreign Minister  Prof. G.L. Peiris & Founding Chairman ICAPP Mr. Jose De Venicia. The proceedings were conducted by Minister of Health and Gen. Sec. Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. The jam-packed Rajapaksha stadium welcomed the foreign guests with traditional Sri Lanka performers, drums, jingles & dholaks etc. Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs young trainees actively assisted while military personal in civilian dress coordinated  in all spheres.

Besides attending the ICAPP & delivering powerful message of BJP led Modi Govt. of India, BJP leaders Muralidhar Rao and Vijay Jolly successfully reiterated “Sabka Sath – Sabka Vikas” message of BJP at the ICAPP meet.

Upon arrival in Colombo, BJP leaders had a two hours long meeting with Indian High Commissioner Mr. Y.K. Sinha at the Indian High Commission. A wide range of topics were discussed with regard to Indo – Sri Lanka relations. This crucial meeting gave deep insight on the current political situation in Sri Lanka to the visiting BJP leaders.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha received the BJP leaders at Presidential Palace in Colombo. The 45 minutes long meeting with the President discussed a wide range of issues relating to Tamil diaspora, proposed 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka and devolution of powers within the frame work of Sri Lanka Constitution. Settlement of all pending Tamil issues & to restart dialogue with Tamil National Alliance leader’s for ever lasting peace were stressed by the BJP leaders Mr. Muralidhar Rao and Mr. Vijay Jolly.

The need to deal with the re-current Indian fisherman issue to the satisfaction of all and in the interests of both the nations was also discussed.

Promoting religious & cultural tourism between India & Sri Lanka evoked consensus on both sides. Buddhist circuit trail in India & Hindu Ram Sita circuit trail in Sri Lanka promoting rich cultural connectivity among both the nation was accepted on the suggestion of OFBJP leader Mr. Vijay Jolly. The Hon’ble President of Sri Lanka gave a patient hearing to the BJP leaders and also explained the current position of Govt. of Sri Lanka on wide range of issues of mutual interests.

Mr. Rajapaksha politely told BJP leader Mr. Jolly that he deliberately did not wish Narendra Modi happy birthday on 17th Sep, since he did not want to disturb Prime Minister Modi during the same time visit of President of China Mr. Xi Jinping to Gujarat. But shall wish belated happy birthday greetings to Mr. Modi at United Nations soon conveyed H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksha.

BJP leaders half an hour long meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris dwelt at length on Govt. of Sri Lanka efforts to combat terrorism and establish peace in the SAARC Island nation. Safe guarding the interests of Indian fisherman including release of their trawlers and resumption of political dialogue was repeatedly advocated by Mr. Muralidhar Rao and Mr. Vijay Jolly.

A courtesy call on Leader of Opposition Sri Lanka Hon’ble Ranil Wickremasighe and leader of United National Party evoked sweet memories of his long association with Senior BJP leaders Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri. L.K. Advani. The LOP was upbeat on the poll results of Sri Lanka provincial elections and his party’s better showing in terms of increased vote share and seats. He also organized a grand dinner reception in Colombo with scintillating cultural dance performances. They presented “Elephant” election symbol of their party to the attending guests.   

BJP leaders also met Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leadership led by current Minister of Justice Mr. Rauff Hakeem along with Mr. M.T. Hassan Ali Member of Parliament and Minister of Agriculture Mr. Naseer Ahamed. It may be recalled that Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is in alliance with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha.

Meeting with Ceylon Workers Congress leader and Minister Livestock  & Rural Community Development Mr. Arumugan Thondaman in the presence of CWC President Mr. Mutu Shivalingam, Vice President & Ex. MP Mr. K. Marimuthu and Mr. V. Jeevanandaraja in Colombo gave a deep insight in to the plight and rights of Tamil’s working in high land tea estates in Sri Lanka. He is a popular leader of his community and serves in the present govt. of President Mahinda Rajapaksha.

GOPIO Sri Lanka led by prominent businessman and President Shri. Kaushik Udeshi and others organized a special dinner meeting at China Dragon in Colombo in honor of visiting BJP leaders Muralidhar & Jolly. They apprised BJP of their long standing demands & plight .

A  crucial   meeting  with  Tamil   National   Alliance   Senior   leader  Mr. R. Sampanthan and Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran Member of Parliament took place at Taj Samundra, Colombo. BJP leaders had a one hour long meeting with TNA leaders.

The distrust between the Govt. of Sri Lanka & TNA, the status of the parliament select committee, pending issue of devolutions of powers, rights & demands of Tamils in Sri Lanka, rising influence of China in northern & eastern parts of Sri Lanka, the role & influence of Tamil diaspora along with possible ways & means for a reasonable negotiated political resolution of Tamils rights in Sri Lanka were discussed at length.

The TNA leader Mr. R. Sampanthan expressed  complete satisfaction over their recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at New Delhi. The TNA leaders said that they do not advocate extreme positions. But want a political solution & devolution of powers in Sri Lanka. 

TNA promised to resume political dialogue provided the Sri Lanka Govt. of Mahinda Rajapaksha is serious enough to consider & deliver on the core issue of devolution of powers within the constitutional frame work of the Island nation.

Latter Advisor to President Mr Sunimal Fernando also met the BJP leaders for 45 minutes and apprised them of the latest political scenario.

BJP leaders visited the historic Tamil temple in Colombo where Swami Vivekanand visited on 15 Jan 1897 after his successful Chicago trip. There they garlanded his statue, performed pooja and addressed Hindu leaders in the presence of Sri Lanka Member of Parliament Mr. D.M. Swaminathan. A visit to the HSS office located in down town Colombo, meeting HSS Pracharak Sri Radha Krishnan ji gave immense satisfaction to the visiting BJP leaders in Sri Lanka.

A close interaction with leading media journalists was organized at the Chutney restaurant in Cinnamon Grand Hotel over lunch. All India Radio  and Doordarshan News journalist Mr. Abhishek Dayal, Hindu Sri Lanka Chief Correspondent Ms. Meera Srinivasan and P.K. Balachandran Special Correspondent Indian Express had a free and fair interaction.

Prominent businessman & well-known philanthropist of Sri Lanka Mr. Tilak De Zoysa hosted a farewell dinner in honor of visiting BJP leaders. They were introduced to the Light of Asia Foundation Chairman Mr. Naveen Gooneratne and famous United National Party women Member of Parliament Mrs. Rosy Senanayake. Earlier another famous women Member of Parliament Mrs. Daya Gamange hosted a evening get-together in honor of the visiting BJP leaders from India at their sprawling mansion in Colombo. The BJP leaders returned back to India after a satisfactory & successful Sri Lanka trip.