Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed address to a joint sitting of the US Congress in September is unlikely to happen because the Republican Party is pushing for a shorter session to enable early elections to the law-making body.
South Block sources told HT on condition of anonymity that Modi’s much-awaited address will fall victim to the US opposition party’s push to end the session by the third week of September so that it can capitalise on a perceived electoral advantage over the Democrats.
The Indian PM will be in the United States to address the United Nations General Assembly and then meet US President Obama in the last week of September. The address to Senators and Congressmen was due to happen around the time of the Obama meeting.
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Modi has received no less than eight separate invitations or letters of support from US Senators and Congressmen to address the joint session. This includes a letter under circulation from Californian Democrat Congressman Brad Sherman and more than 80 colleagues to House and Senate leaders.
Signatories to the letter include five Congressmen who had earlier supported the visa ban on Modi as a fallout of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“There is a huge interest in the US about rising economic opportunity in India, politics under the leadership of Modi, who has a single party majority government after 30 years, as also the pressure of the influential Indian community on their representatives,” said a senior South Block official.
According to US diplomatic sources, five of the invitations are from the US house, two from the Senate including a floor statement by Senator John McCain on the US-India Strategic Partnership and a separate letter by House and Senate India Caucus Co-Chairs to the Speaker of the House in support of a Modi joint address.
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