Upul Joseph Fernando
Nothing is known in detail on the one on one talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Premier Narendra Modi in New York on the sidelines of the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly sessions. Even the media did not report much, other than recording the meet with the customary bilateral comments made by the two leaders on strengthening relations between the two countries. The Indian media claimed that the issue of the 13th Amendment was not discussed between Modi and Rajapaksa. It said the talks were cordial and Rajapaksa was thanked by Modi for seconding the former’s proposal on United Nations Solidarity Day.
@PresRajapaksa and Prime Minister @narendramodi Agree to Strengthen Relations-pic via: @PresRajapaksa
Contrary to Indian media reports, the President’s Media Unit in Colombo reported that Rajapaksa was briefed by Modi on the talks the latter held with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). In addition the President’s Media Unit said that Rajapaksa had agreed to engage the TNA at the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) deliberations. It is surprising that Modi omitted the topic of the 13th Amendment and talked about the PSC only. Who is trying to deceive who is an obvious guess?
Everybody is at a loss to understand why Modi did not refer to 13 A with Rajapaksa after having met the TNA much earlier. Whenever Mahinda met Modi’s predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh, Singh talked about the 13 A at all meets. It cannot be ruled that Modi conveniently omitted talks on 13 A having an alternative plan at the back of his mind to get Mahinda to implement. Or it could be he did not want to remind it as he told Mahinda about the 13 A when he earlier met him at his swearing-in ceremony and that nothing had happened so far. Also it could be that Modi did not want to remind as it would undermine his stand.
Had Modi spoken about 13 A, Mahinda could have got good advice. Now Modi is preparing to go for Maharashtra State polls leaving aside the Shiv Sena which helped him to become a Chief Minister and a Prime Minister. Though many indicate Modi’s decision as a red light to him, Modi has decided to distance himself from the extremist Shiv Sena. When the Congress was in power, Mahinda held the view that if he implemented the 13 A in full, his partners in the ruling alliance would seek divorce. Had Modi asked Mahinda if he (Modi) could distance himself from extremist organizations that brought him to power, why cannot Mahinda do it, Mahinda would end up dumb founded to that question? However, at the time these two met in New York, two significant incidents occurred to both. First, a New York Federal Court issued summons against Modi for his role in the anti-Muslim programme in Gujarat. Second was the judgment against Jayalalithaa.
The Federal Court summons served on Modi looked favourable to Mahinda. We do not know whether Mahinda told Modi that both were in the same boat as, Mahinda too faced a case before a US court on alleged war crimes. Mahinda would have whispered to Modi ear, “You overcome this court case and also try to save me”. The other issue is that of Jayalalithaa’s judgment which was favourable to both leaders.
Some say that Jayalalithaa’s jail term will help Modi’s party to stabilize and set up camps in the Tamil Nadu State. Similarly, Mahinda would have been happy that Jayalalithaa’s party which pressurized New Delhi to bring pressure on his government would remain silent. The first to accuse Jayalalithaa of corruption charges was Mahinda’s friend, Dr. Subramanian Swamy. Swamy came to Sri Lanka as an envoy of Modi’s Government. It is no surprise if Mahinda’s media says that Swamy can not only tame Mahinda’s opponents here but also in India.
The LTTE sympathizers in Tamil Nadu could create various impressions on the fate of Jayalalithaa who demanded a war crimes probe against Mahinda and the links of Swamy to Jayalalithaa’s case. It is no secret that America tried to get the support of Tamil Nadu on Sri Lanka’s war crime probe to get Indian support. When Hillary Clinton went to India she talked about the Sri Lankan issue with Jayalalithaa. Now LTTE sympathizers claim there is a joint Indo-Lanka exercise to silence Jayalalithaa. The previous Indian Government framed corruption charges against Karunanidhi and his daughter when the duo spoke of the Sri Lankan issue. Karunanidhi threatened to leave the Indian Government in 2008, if New Delhi did not stop the war efforts by the Sri Lankan Government against the LTTE. The then Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee visited Tamil Nadu with documentary proof about Karunanidhi’s corrupt act to silence him and it is an open secret.
The Congress rule weakened Karunanidhi. The Judiciary has sent Jayalalithaa to jail. The BJP will now flex its muscles in Tamil Nadu. At this juncture if an LTTE sympathizer raises his head in Tamil Nadu politics, both Modi and Mahinda will be destitute. There’s something worthy of mentioning here. That is: What Modi assured the TNA in New Delhi is still being kept secret from the media. What Modi said was that the TNA should distance itself from the LTTE Diaspora.