Surprise support from Mamata Banerjee for government on Sri Lanka controversy

Surprise support from Mamata Banerjee for government on Sri Lanka controversy
New Delhi Mamata Banerjee, who  quit the ruling coalition last year, has said she will back the government on whatever stand it takes at  Geneva, where a resolution on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka will be put to vote tomorrow.

"We are deeply concerned about the atrocities meted out to a section of Tamil population in a foreign country," said a statement by Ms Banerjee on Facebook page. However, she added, "Our Party follows a policy that we should not interfere into issues involving external relations with foreign countries. We leave it for the Central Government to decide on such issues." (Read full statement)

Yesterday, the DMK, which was the second-largest member of the UPA, quit the government, accusing it of failing to take a strong stand against Sri Lanka at the current session of United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The party wanted India to urge the UN to accuse Sri Lanka of "genocide."

Ms Banerjee quit the government in September over economic reforms like opening the retail sector to foreign super-stores like Wal-Mart.  Her withdrawal reduced the government to a minority.

Sources told the Press Trust of India that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had phoned Ms Banerjee to solicit her support.

The Congress which lost the DMK as an ally, is also trying to assuage another important partner, Mulayam Singh Yadav.  His Samajwadi Party (SP) does not participate in the UPA, but props it up by voting with the government on crucial issues in parliament.  Mr Yadav is furious with Union Steel Minister and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma, who offered his regrets today for suggesting recently that Mr Yadav has "links to terrorists." Mr Yadav's party has said that it will decide tomorrow if it accepts the minister's apology.
Story First Published: March 20, 2013 18:59 IST

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