Anti-Modi letter: Sign of dirty politics; denial by 9 MPs

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New Delhi, July 24: The controversy over 65 Members of Parliament signing letter on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi visa issue has taken a curious turn with nine MPs denying signing any letter and the Congress talking in a high moral tone. The government has also said it is not right for anyone to involve a third country in domestic issues.

Whatever be the outcome of the controversy, what is certain is that the country is witnessing a dirty campaign as India hits election year.

A letter supposedly signed by 65 MPs to US President Barack Obama dated December 2012 had urged him not to grant a US visa to Modi. The letter was re-sent to the White House to coincide with BJP President Rajnath Singh's US trip. Rajnath had said that as he will push the US government to change its policy and grant Modi a US visa.

The MPs who have denied signing the anti-Modi letter include five Congress leaders. Two of the Congress MPs also said they do not remember signing the letter.

After CPM MP Sitaram Yechury denied signing any such letter, DMK MP from Rajya Sabha KP Ramalingam and CPI MP Achutan have also denied that they had put their signatures on the letter to US President Barack Obama.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MPs Vandana Chavan and Sanjeev Naik, Congress MPs Marotrao Kowase, Anil Lad and Jayantrao Avale have also denied signing the letter. Congress MPs Pradip Bhattacharya and Joy Abraham said that they do not remember signing the letter.

Meanwhile, the Congress today sought to disapprove of the move saying the "nation is bigger than politics".
"The nation is bigger than politics...We do not know what individuals are doing. The issue has not been discussed in any fora of the party nor that of Parliament. Nothing has been discussed. It is a non-issue (for us)", party spokesman Raj Babbar told reporters.

Babbar, a member of the Lok Sabha, said MPs could approach the Privileges Committee if they are alleging that their signatures were forged.

Today, Sudarshan Bhagat, BJP MP from Lohardaga, Jharkhand, wrote a letter to the Speaker saying some MPs have said they have not signed the letter to Obama.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedkar said tirade seemed to be a conspiracy as many of the signatories have denied of signing the letter. "Many of the signatories have denied they having been signed this memorandum. This shows that it was a conspiracy. It is a Congress dirty trick department which is at work now," he said.

Yechury, whose name figures at number 9 on the letter said, "I would be the last person to write to the US Administration and to do something like this. We don't want anyone to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. Secondly, it is up to the US government to decide on giving visa."

"I deny having signed any such letter. The one circulating in cyberspace, now many months after it was allegedly signed, is typed on the letterhead of a MP which carries the insignia of our national symbol, the Ashok Chakra. The heading under which some signatures are appended says, 'names and signatures of Indian MPs'. Strange, which other country's MPs would sign on the letterhead of the Indian Parliament? This itself suggests some efforts at cut and paste," Yechury said.

Independent MP Mohammed Adeeb, who had sent the letter, says he is open to any inquiry. When asked about some MPs denying having signed the letter, Adeeb said, "There must be some party policy binding them."

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