A US congressional delegation on Thursday invited Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to visit the country, which has been denying him visa since 2005 for his alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, leaving more than 1,200 people — mostly Muslims — killed.
Republican lawmakers Aaron Schock, a Congressman from Illinois, Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington state and Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming called on Modi in Gandhinagar and praised Gujarat's “development”.
“It's much easier for us to do business in Gujarat than in rest of India,” Schock later told mediapersons.
Asked if the invitation meant that the US state department had changed its stand and might consider issuing visa to Modi, Schock said, “Obviously, it is a matter of the United States administration, but we, along with other Republican lawmakers, will work in that direction with the US administration.”
Modi, who accepted the invitation, tweeted, “Am thankful to the members of USA Congress & business persons for their kind words on Gujarat’s development.”
The BJP was upbeat about the invitation. Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “The negative propaganda is gradually being defeated.”
The Congress, however, was not impressed. “Well, the US ambassador came to see me yesterday. I would like to know as to how the BJP looks at it,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said when asked about the meeting.