Somnath Temple in Gujarat, India

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Somnath Temple in Gujarat, India

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Narendra Modi, Photo courtsey: Govt. of Gujarat

The Narendra Modi Controversy

(RT, 26.3.2005): The controversial Gujarat chief minister (CM) Narendra Modi is again in limelight for wrong reasons. Mr. Modi was scheduled to visit USA for a 5-days trip beginning 20 th March to promote Gujarat as a prime destination for investment. There he was invited to address a select gathering of Asian-American Hotel Owners’ Association in Florida and a public meeting in New York apart from meeting business leaders.

Some Indian-American groups however threatened to disrupt his gatherings and asked the US govt. to deny him visa to enter US. The US govt. acted by not only denying him a diplomatic visa but went on to cancel his already granted private tourist/business visa. The Indian Govt. protested against this rebuke and called the action uncalled for. The US however refused to alter its decision.

Mr. Modi described the US action as an insult to India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of which Mr. Modi is a member, accused US of indulging in petty politics and double standards. The Gujarat government termed the US action as an attempt to defame the CM. The Indian foreign ministry described the manner of US decision as unacceptable and non-compatible with democratic principles.

Many people in India saw the US action as a gimmick to win Muslim sympathy by distracting the attention to Mr. Modi, who is accused by some of involvement in sectarian violence that was triggered in the Gujarat state in the aftermath of a tragic incidence.

The episode took a new turn on Friday, as Mr. Modi was advised by the Central government in New Delhi to postpone his visit to the United Kingdom, following information about security threats to Mr. Modi in UK .

The irrepressible Modi has meanwhile reportedly invited the Florida governor Jeb Bush to visit Gujarat.

(Photo: Courtsey Govt. of Gujarat)

Read: "The Modi Controversy: A Great Blame Game", a comment by Rajnish Tiwari.

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