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Minister Athawale heads to US, hopeful of meeting ‘fellow Republican’ Trump

Minister Ramdas Athawale has sought a meeting with US President Donald Trump, yet to hear from White House.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2017 10:15 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Ramdas Athawale will represent India at a UN ceremony to celebrate  the 126th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
Ramdas Athawale will represent India at a UN ceremony to celebrate the 126th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.(Hemant Padalkar/ HT photo)

New Delhi: Will he or will he not?

Minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale who will be in the United States next week has sought a meeting with President Donald Trump, a fellow “Republican”.

Though the White House is yet to confirm the meeting, the Republican Party of India-Athawale (RPI-A) president is hopeful of an audience with Trump, who assumed office on January 20.

Athawale will represent India at the 126th birth anniversary celebrations of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar at the United Nations headquarters.

The 57-year-old minister could be counting on Trump’s “love” for India for the meeting to work out.

During campaigning, Trump had famously professed his love for India and Hindus. At a fundraiser organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition, Trump said as the president, there won’t be any relationship more important to the US than its relationship with India.

“Donald of the Republican Party has been elected as US President. I will go to the US soon to meet him,” Athawale was quoted as saying by media after Trump’s shock White House triumph. “The way he has become the president, a person belonging to the RPI should also one day become the (Indian) president.”

Asked if he would raise the issue of racial attacks against people of Indian origin and tightening of H-1B visa norms, the 57-year-old Dalit leader from Maharashtra said, “Let me first get there.”

Athawale will attend the UN ceremony on April 13 and is also expected to participate in events organised by the Indian community in New York during his stay.

There is another thing that the Rajya Sabha member has in common with Trump, though the US president is leagues ahead of him.

Athawale, too, is known to make remarks that generate news and mirth, in equal measures.