There was a terse reaction from most political parties to US Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, seeking a meeting with BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, with Samajwadi Party (SP) calling it “US interference in India’s internal affairs.”
The Left attributed the same to “corporate pressure”. The government, however, said that an envoy of any country was free to meet anyone in India.
“This move should be seen in a larger context of corporate pressure. Modi has become the captain of the Indian corporates who are part of a US-led international financial structure. So, the Americans want to meet the captain,” said CPM central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu.
JD(U) spokesperson KS Tyagi described the development as a casual matter, saying even if the US ban was removed, Modi would not be absolved of his role in the Gujarat 2002 riots.
“Modi has been indicted for his role in the riots by human rights organisations across the world.” Tyagi said.
However, BJP leader Kirti Azad asserted that Modi was not “dying” to visit America. “Modi is not dying to go to America. The US seeing the changed scenario is now extending an olive branch to Modi,” said Azad.
Union minister Anand Sharma said that Ambassadors have a right to meet anyone. “We are an open democracy. We have no issues on the meeting…I hope he (Modi) gets US visa one day,” Sharma said.
The US has signalled it will end its nine-year boycott of Narendra Modi with Powell receiving permission from South Block to meet the Gujarat CM.
Envoys from UK and other European Union countries have earlier met Modi, but the US took a while before throwing their hat in the ring.