iconimg Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 07, 2010
The BJP brass met here on Sunday to discuss leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj’s meeting with US President Barack Obama on Monday. Apart from Sushma, senior leaders L K Advani, Arun Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi and Ananth Kumar were present. Though there was no official word, leaders confirmed that the brass had decided to withhold their assessment of Obama’s visit while he is in India.

“We will not comment till he (Obama) is here,” a BJP leader said. “We are watching the visit closely and will analyse it and firm up a definite line after it is over. We are also waiting for the government’s official assessment of the visit.”

The party took this line a day after BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy’s attacked Obama for not mentioning Pakistan’s role in terrorism in his speech.

Rudy’s stand ruffled some feathers within the party, with some top leaders seeing the remarks as undiplomatic and aggressive.  

Sushma’s meeting with Obama apart, Advani and Jaitley have been invited to the Prime Minister’s dinner for the US President on Sunday. On Monday night, Sushma and Jaitley are slated to be part of the presidential banquet for Obama. 

Party leaders said that fears about the US curbing job outsourcing — which can hit India — are crucial for the party and Sushma was likely to take it up with Obama. Just before Obama’s visit, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had made a passing reference to it. Cross-border terrorism also remains a major issue.

Sushma is likely to gently take up these matters — on which the BJP and Centre have broadly similar views — in her meeting with the US President.

Party leaders said the BJP would not like to take up any matter on which there is a difference of opinion with the government as foreign policy was the Centre’s turf.