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US Congress team denies money deal over meeting with Modi

Ahmedabad, March 30, 2013, DHNS 2:07 IST
On the face of a raging controversy over whether visting US lawmakers were paid to praise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the Republican delegation Aaron Schock said on Saturday that their trip “is totally legitimate” as it was approved by appropriate authorities.

Talking to mediapersons at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) on the outskirts of Gandhinagar, Schock rubbished the allegations leveled by Gujarat unit of the Congress party.

Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modvadia alleged that the visit of three congressmen from the Republican Party and a handful of “unknown” businessmen was showcased as an official visit and an impression was created that US has invited Modi as a part of conspiracy to market Modi by a foreign a public relation company Apco Worldwide and industrialists close to Modi.

Modvadia went on to allege that this PR agency had prepared a speech of Modi at Wharton and got the body sponsorship from a well-known industrialist from Gujarat.

And after Wharton rescinded its invitation to Modi, the sponsorship was cancelled.
The agency then went on to contact a group of non resident Gujaratis in the US and arranged for a speech by Modi, Modvadia alleged. He said that it was the same PR agency that had sent a delegation of three Congressmen of the Republican Party and four five small businessmen through “Friends of BJP” in the US and got Modi praised by them.

Meanwhile, Apco Worldwide has denied the charges leveled against it. In a statement issued to the media, the agency said: “Apco Worldwide is one of the strategic partners of the Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) of the Government of Gujarat alongside CII, PwC and FICCI.

We work to promote the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summit and to position Gujarat as a global investment destination, which is designed to drive economic development opportunities for the state and job opportunities for the people. We do not work on Chief Minister Modi’s publicity campaign; we are not engaged to help resolve the visa issue; and had no role to play in the recent visit of a US delegation to Gujarat.”

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