As pressure mounted on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from within the Congress’s leadership to stay away from the Commonwealth meeting, the party said on Friday that a decision would be taken only after all aspects were factored in.

Party spokesperson Randip Singh Surjewala told journalists here: “A decision will be taken keeping in mind the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the overwhelming opinion expressed for and against by the political parties in Tamil Nadu, and the strategic and national interests of the country, as well as the view of the newly elected Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority province in Sri Lanka.”

Stressing that human rights violations in Sri Lanka were a “matter of serious and grave concern” for Tamils in India, Mr. Surjewala said: “To ensure more participatory democracy, devolution of powers to the elected Tamils and ensuring justice and transparency have been the policy of the government of India.”

Asked which was more important for the Congress — India’s foreign policy or the prospect of annoying possible alliance partners in Tamil Nadu ahead of next year’s general election — the spokesperson said: “The national interest is paramount, and let’s cross the bridge when we come to it. It is above all.”

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