Modi Triggers Hopes and Fears in Lanka
By P K Balachandran | Published: 18th December 2013 10:03 AM |
The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi dominates the discourse on Indian politics in Sri Lanka both among the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. Given the media barrage emanating from India, the general feeling in the island nation is that Modi will be India’s next Prime Minister, heading a BJP-led coalition. But Lankans differ on the question of the desirability of having Modi at the helm in New Delhi.
The TNA, as a political party, is silent on the issue, given the party’s dependence on the government in New Delhi. But the Tamils, as a whole, are looking forward to the coming of Modi. They believe that the Congress had let them down badly by secretly collaborating with Lankan government in Eelam War IV to decimate the LTTE. They believe that the BJP does not carry the political baggage that the Congress carries vis-a-vis Lankan Tamil issue and will, therefore, take a new route, especially if it is in alliance with the pro-Tamil AIADMK.
The Tamil media here noted with satisfaction Modi’s remark in Chennai that States should be given a role in shaping foreign policy vis-a-vis neighbours.
However, the feelings among the majority Sinhalese are mixed. The Mahinda Rajapaksa government is hopeful that Dr Subramanian Swamy would swing the BJP in its favour given his publicly expressed gratitude to Rajapaksa for decimating the LTTE.