US team's meeting with BJP leader virtually called off

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, April 14: A meeting of a four-member US Congressional delegation with a representative of BJP tomorrow has been virtually called off because of reservations of the party over interacting with two of its members as they had campaigned against giving visa to Narendra Modi.

Jim McDermott, (78), a Democrat Congressman from Washington state and a former Co-chair of India Caucus, and Robert Pattinger, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina, were the two members of the delegation that the BJP representative did not want to meet, sources said. Indications were given to them that they may not be welcome in a meeting with BJP's chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, that was said to have been scheduled tomorrow, if they came with the other two members who included Loretto Sanchez of California.

The delegation was here on behalf of German Marshall Fund (GMF), a non-partisan American public policy and grant-making institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues.

McDermott, a veteran Congressman and a friend of India, told PTI that they were not directly told anything but they came to know of BJP's reservations over meeting the two Congressmen who had a few years signed a petition against giving Modi a US visa on the post-Godhra riots issue.

When contacted, Prasad said he was in Patna in connection with election campaign and he had no idea of any delegation's meeting with him. At the moment, election campaign was a more pressing issue, he added.

During the stay, the delegation had met Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, Rajya Sabha member H K Dua, Afghanistan's Ambassador to India and veteran journalist Sanjaya Baru. They are slated to meet National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and former Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi. The delegation will later travel to Mumbai.


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