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* NPC Chief Minister declines Sri Lankan President's invitation to join him for Indian PM's inauguration
Fri, May 23, 2014, 07:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 23, Colombo: Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran has declined the invitation extended by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to accompany him to the swearing in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister- elect Narendra Modi.

In a communiqué to the External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Chief Minister has said that he is unable to accept the government's "warm welcome" as the gesture would indicate that the relations between the government and the Northern Province are harmonious.

Wigneswaran said he cannot accept the invitation primarily because an acceptance would "indicate that there exists a strong co-operative spirit prevailing between the Center and the Province."

President Rajapaksa extended the invitation to the Chief Minister to join the presidential delegation to attend the swearing-in ceremony on Monday (May 26) in New Delhi.

"It is an auspicious sign that the historic election of Shri Narendra Modi has revived in the Government of Sri Lanka a sense of co-operation and partnership towards the Northern Province," the Chief Minister wrote.

He said, while people in the North are "engulfed in a climate of fear on account of the Military while the activities of the Northern Provincial Council have been stultified," accepting an invitation from the government would make him feel "guilty of facilitating tokenism".

Wigneswaran said he, however, has already extended his wishes to Narendra Modi through the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.

The Chief Minister expressed hope that the spirit of partnership and goodwill expressed by the President's invitation would continue to ensure the electoral mandate of the Northern Province is fulfilled and fundamental rights of the people are preserved.

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