Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi received Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Special Envoy Arumugam Thondaman in Chennai on Thursday.
The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) chief called on the veteran Indian Tamil leader and personally conveyed to him President Rajapakse’s felicitations on becoming the southern Indian state’s chief minister for the fifth time early this month.
Earlier, on the day the 83-year-old Karunanidhi was sworn in, Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai Sumith Nakandala had delivered to him a special message of congratulations from the President.
Thondaman, who has known Karunanidhi for many years, had a one-to-one meeting with him. “Their meeting was positive. They had a cordial discussion on the current situation in Sri Lanka,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Romesh Jayasinghe told The Island today.
Jayasinghe and Nakandala met Karunanidhi alongwith Thodaman after the one-to-one meeting. Earlier, they met Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary LK Tripathi separately and informed him about the Sri Lankan government’s just-taken decision to open two relief centers—one each in Trincomalee and Mannar districts—to provide assistance to Tamil families in distress.
Together with Tripathi, the diplomats briefed Karunanidhi about the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to provide help and physical security to affected Tamil families in a bid to discourage them from seeking refuge in Tamil Nadu.
Most of the nearly two thousand Sri Lankan Tamils who fled to neighbouring Tamil Nadu since January this year in the wake of violence are mostly from these two districts.
The Government Agents (GAs) of the two districts will run these relief centers with assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). They are due to become operational any day now.
The CWC leader flew back to Colombo on Thursday night.
Incidentally, Karunanidhi’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and three other parties that are his allies in Tamil Nadu support Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the centre. Dr Singh respects him as a senior ally. As such, Karunanidhi wields considerable influence over the prime minister.
Political analysts here have welcomed President Rajapakse’s initiative and efforts to keep cordial relations with Karunanidhi. Dr Singh will naturally take Karunanidhi’s opinions into consideration on India’s policies towards Sri Lanka. [Source: Island]