An image has gone viral on the internet with claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling political party in India, has launched a ‘branch’ in Sri Lanka.
The image is of one V Muththusami, who is described as a leader of Sri Lanka Bharatiya Janata Party. This made many people wonder that the BJP has opened a branch in Sri Lanka.
Media reports on BJP’s branch in Sri Lanka and Nepal
Chinese government mouthpiece as well as Pakistani government broadcasters had recently made claims that the ruling party in India is planning to ‘interfere’ in politics of neighbouring countries by opening ‘branches’ in countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Radio Pakistan had cited Chinese government mouthpiece to claim that the BJP will establish branches in Nepal and Sri Lanka to fight elections and form governments in these countries.
Hence, with the above image going viral coupled with the news published in Pakistani and Chinese media, social media was rife with speculations whether the above claims are true.
Has BJP opened its new branch in Sri Lanka?
The image making rounds on social media is real. However, the newly launched political party in Sri Lanka has nothing to do with the Indian BJP.
On March 6, a Colombo-based Tamil hotelier of Indian origin, Velusamy Muthuswamy, addressed the press conference to announce the formation of a new political outfit called Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi (IBJK) or Sri Lanka BJP, to further the socio-economic development of all Sri Lankans.
The party chief announced the decision in Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka on Saturday. The party would be known in English as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Party (SLBJP) and in Sinhala as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Paksaya (SLBJP).
Most importantly, Velusamy Muthuswamy has categorically denied any links to the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s ruling political party. “There is no link with India’s BJP so far. But I admire Mr Modi. His schemes are progressive, and he is achieving results,” said IBJK chief Muthuswamy.
“We planned this six years ago. We will engage in political activities later as we must work with the government. We will not stage any demonstrations against the government. We will engage in activities in the Central region, Northern region and Eastern provinces. If India is assisting us, we will inform the media about it.
M Indrajith, the secretary of the new outfit, said that Modi was a popular name, and hence the party decided to use it. Bharatiya Janata Party has not expressed its displeasure to us yet, he added.
New political party will be working for the benefit of Tamils
Launching the new outfit, IBJK chief Muthuswamy said the party would work on the issues of Tamils in the plantation areas and the war-torn Northern and Eastern provinces. It will promote education, multiple language skills, sports and entrepreneurship, Muthuswamy said.
Releasing the party’s manifesto, Muthuswamy said that the IBJP will be a trans-ethnic and trans-religious party and open to all ethnic and religious groups. The party will work for the welfare of the downtrodden in all communities and aim to uplift educational standards among Indian Origin Tamils and the Tamils in the war-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces, he said in the press conference.
“Educational standards are poor among the Indian Origin Tamils in the plantation areas and have fallen steeply in Jaffna. The Ilankai Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to seek and provide facilities to teach English and also Sinhala as these two languages are essential to get employment. I will also get businessmen to teach entrepreneurship,” said IBJP chief.
From the above, it is clear that the newly launched outfit has nothing do with Indian BJP as claimed a few social media users.