There is no question of stopping repatriation of Indian labour from Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka President J R Jayewardene. The repatriation, he said, would have to proceed in accordance with the agreement between India and Sri Lanka. Jayewardene was replying to a question whether his government would make a fresh review of the repatriation problem in view of the reported shortage of labour in the tea estates. He stressed the need for “trust and understanding” between the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka and the majority. As promised in his party’s election manifesto, the government was trying to remove all the grievances of the Tamil speaking people who had demanded a separate Tamil state, unfortunately there were some people who would not listen to reason and resorted to violent means.
The Congress replaced all its representatives in the Kerala ministry. The new Congress team in the 14-member ministry headed by the CPI leader, P K Vasudevan Nair, will consist of the KPCC chief, S Varadarajan Nair, M K Raghavan, A L Jacob and Damodaran Kalassery. The party leadership was left with no option but to replace the existing team because of threat of defection and the virtual scramble for ministerial chairs, which started as soon as AK Antony announced his resignation. The younger elements in the leadership wanted at least Oommen Chandy retained in the ministry but had to make compromises one by one.
Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram described Mrs Gandhi’s unsuccessful bid to enrol herself as a voter in Doddaballapur as a great “criminal offence”. Ram, who began his tour of Chikmagalur constituency, said ever since her defeat in Rae Bareli last year, Mrs Gandhi had been trying to find a place from where she could return to the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha.