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No visa? Modi to go 'live' for US audience

No visa? Modi to go 'live' for US audience

Author: S Rajagopalan
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 26, 2008

[Note from the Hindu Vivek Kendra: Rajesh Shukla makes a valid point when he says: "Countless dictators, military leaders and heads of banana republics frequent the US." The cancellation of the visa by the USA is more a reflection on the bureaucracy in the country, which allows itself to be 'influenced' by the 'secular' lobby.]

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was denied a US visa three years ago, will have a 'live' session with his vast constituency of Indian American supporters packing a New Jersey venue on February 1.

The day has been billed as 'Grand BJP Victory Celebration Day' and Modi, courtesy video conferencing, will accept felicitations on his recent electoral triumph, address the gathering and field questions - all of it from his Gandhinagar headquarters.

To be held at the Royal Albert's Palace in Fords, New Jersey, the event has been put together by the Overseas Friends of BJP in association with a host of 'Desi' outfits including the Gujarati-dominated Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) and the Gujarati Samaj.

This will be the second time that Modi hits the American airwaves. The first was in March 2005, when he was denied a US visa on grounds of "serious violation of religious freedom" in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Besides denying him a diplomatic visa, the US authorities had also revoked the tourist/business visa which he was holding.

Modi, who was to be the chief guest at AAHOA's annual convention in Florida, addressed NRIs gathered in New York's Madison Square Garden from his office in Gandhinagar via satellite.

The OFBJP has a different type of problem on its hands this time. It has received requests from over 5,000 people to attend the February 1 event, but the venue's seating capacity is only 1,500 and passes are being issued on a first come -first served basis.

Will the OFBJP and other Indian groups call upon the State Department to reconsider its visa denial in the light of his landslide victory?

A media report quoted OFBJP leader Rajesh Shukla as saying: "Why should we lower our country's prestige by begging for a visa? Countless dictators, military leaders and heads of banana republics frequent the US. A day will come when they will roll out a red carpet for Modi in Washington."

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