NEW DELHI: Even as some Indian MPs denied having signed the letter sent to US President Barack Obama not to lift visa ban on Narendra Modi, the Congress tried to distance itself from the move which under severe criticism from many quarters.
Sending the letter to the US president in response to BJP chief Rajnath Singh, who is visiting the US, asking for revocation of the visa ban, the 65 MPs said, “Given that legal cases against the culprits including many senior officials of Mr Modi’s administration are still pending the court of law, any revoking of the ban at this juncture would be seen as a dismissal of the issues concerning his role in the horrific massacre of 2002.”
Since the names of many Congress MPs, including P L Punia (who is also chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes), Hussain Dalwai, Alka Kshatriya, Hanumantha Rao, Pradeep Bhattachrya and Praveen Rashtrapal, appear on the letter, the Congress party tried to distance itself from it on Wednesday.
Party spokesman Raj Babbar said, “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.’’
Amid the raging controversy, some MPs whose names appear on the letter denied signing the letter.
Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “I don’t remember having signed any such letter … It suggests some cut and paste job.’’
Yechury said, “I deny having signed any such letter. It is neither in my character nor in the principles of my party — the CPM — to petition any sovereign country on matters that fall strictly within the sovereign domain of that country. It is this very principle that leads us to strongly oppose and denounce any external interference into India’s internal affairs undermining its sovereignty.’’
K.P. Ramalingam of the DMK and MP Achutan of the CPI also denied having signed the letter.
The BJP blamed the Congress’ “dirty tricks department” behind the letter and forged signatures and called for an investigation by the Speaker.