Indian Political Parties Clash Over Katchatheevu Creating A Political Hot Potato for Elections

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has accused the Congress party of "callously giving away" the island of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka. The tiny island was claimed by both countries from 1921 to the 1970s. In 1974, a Congress government under prime minister Indira Gandhi gave up its claim and ceded the island to Sri Lanka.

The deal has been rejected by successive Tamil Nadu governments, including the current one led by the DMK. But prime minister Modi's party has blamed both the Congress and DMK of ignoring this issue. The Congress has questioned the timing of this controversy, saying the prime minister is desperate ahead of general elections. Why did India give up this island in 1974? What will be the impact of this controversy? Here's a brief overview:

  1. Political Significance: The Katchatheevu issue has been brought into focus ahead of the elections, with political parties using it to critique each other's historical decisions. The BJP, in particular, has been highlighting the roles of the Congress and DMK in the ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.
  2. BJP's Stand: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have criticized the Congress and DMK for their roles in the Katchatheevu issue. They argue that these parties' past decisions have harmed the interests of Indian fishermen.
  3. Congress' Response: The Congress party has accused the BJP of raking up the issue with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. They argue that the BJP is trying to gain votes in Tamil Nadu, where the Katchatheevu issue is sensitive.
  4. DMK's Position: The DMK has been criticized for not doing enough to safeguard Tamil Nadu's interests when Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka. However, the party has not yet responded to these criticisms in the context of the upcoming elections.
  5. Election Impact: The Katchatheevu issue could potentially influence voter sentiment, especially in Tamil Nadu. How this will translate into votes remains to be seen.
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