Press Esc to close

Modi and translation problems dog BJP chief in America

Washington, July 25, 2013, (IANS) 13:44 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh: PTI file
He came hoping to win over America and Indian Americans with his simple ways, but the Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh found himself dogged by controversy ever since his arrival - over Gujarat strongman Narendra Modi and translation problems.

Dressed in his trademark white dhoti kurta with a striped dark blue Nehru jacket, he came to the National Press Club in Washington, just a couple of blocks away from the White House, Wednesday, to explain his mission US to the Indian media over breakfast.

But even as Indian journalists, writing for both Indian and American publications, offered to let him talk in "Hindi or English, whatever you are comfortable with," the first question after the customary introductions inevitably focused on Modi.

Choosing to speak in Hindi with journalists hailing from Bihar to Kerala also making it a point to pose questions in India's national language, he tried hard to dispel the impression that he had "virtually anointed Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate" or that he had come to the US to get the Gujarat chief minister a US visa.

Reports that he had projected Modi as such during his first interaction with the media in New York Saturday were just a creation of the media, said Rajnath Singh denying that he had ever suggested that he would take up the issue of denial of US visa to Modi with US lawmakers. "This is a US administration issue, not our issue," he said.

And at times when he spoke about more 'complex' issues like BJP's support for economic reforms or how its foreign policy would be different from the current Congress led government if it came to power, he would touch party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi on the arm saying "translate".

And sitting on his left, Trivedi dressed in a blue bandhgala would more embellish than translate his chief's answers with examples from former pime mnister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's times to assert that BJP was pro-reform and its foreign policy though not much different would have its own perpective.

But all through Rajnath Singh insisted that he was not here to sell Modi or get him a visa and his mission simply was to build "stronger economic and strategic ties" with the US.
Another object of the mission was to renew and re-establish a connection with the Indian diaspora, said a lingering Overseas Friends of BJP convener Vijay Jolly as an old media friend complained to him in an aside: "Next time bring someone who knows English. This is America!"

One is not privy to how the BJP chief went about his meetings with "US business leaders and policy formulators" at think tanks and lawmakers, but he seemed all at sea at a conference on Afghanistan on the Capitol Hill, seat of US Congress, Tuesday.

Trading his dhoti kurta for a bandhgala and trousers, a stiff-looking, Rajnath Singh read out his keynote address in English in a monotonous flat voice as fellow panellist Ed Royce, Republican Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a packed audience listened with little visible reaction.

And when the time came for questions, the organisers thought it fit to distribute lunch packets even as the BJP chief mumbled short answers to a couple of questions that were hardly audible over the din before he left for a luncheon appointment somewhere else.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli with his actress wife Anushka Sharma during their wedding...

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli with his actress wife Anushka Sharma during their wedding...

Former footballer of Argentina Diego Maradona with his wife after being felicitated at a programme..

Former footballer of Argentina Diego Maradona with his wife after being felicitated at a programme..

An Afghani lady cadet at practice session for small arms at Officers Training Academy (OTA)...

An Afghani lady cadet at practice session for small arms at Officers Training Academy (OTA)...

Congress party workers display signboards pasted with the pictures of Jawahar Lal Nehru...

Congress party workers display signboards pasted with the pictures of Jawahar Lal Nehru...

Artists making a 75 M-long live watercolor painting for a world record at Central Park...

Artists making a 75 M-long live watercolor painting for a world record at Central Park...

Patidar community leader Hardik Patel waves at supporters during a road show for the second phase...

Patidar community leader Hardik Patel waves at supporters during a road show for the second phase...

Activists of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) forming a human chain while staging a protest...

Activists of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) forming a human chain while staging a protest...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi offering prayers at Shamlaji Temple in Aravali district...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi offering prayers at Shamlaji Temple in Aravali district...

Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov calls on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan...

Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov calls on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan...

WWE wrestler Dalip Singh Rana or Great Khali calling on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh.

WWE wrestler Dalip Singh Rana or Great Khali calling on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh.

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.