Advani comes to Modi's defence

Advani comes to Modi's defence

BJP veteran rues US visa denial

With the US-based ‘Time’ magazine featuring Narendra Modi on its cover page, BJP leader L K Advani has noted that it’s an “irony” that while the US refused a visa to Modi, a report prepared by a think tank of the US Congress had assigned “very high marks” to him for his governance.

Praising Modi, Advani said that they were left “surprised” by the denial of visa because it had been announced by Washington without Modi having sought it. He also suggested that the then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was also surprised when it was brought to her notice when she visited him in August 2008.

“I raised with her the issue of denial of US visa to Narendra Modi. I said to her this may be the first time that an elected chief minister of a state in the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy has been denied a visa. “What really surprised all of us here was that the denial of visa had been announced by Washington without Modi having sought it. I have not even applied for a visa, Modi informed me. I told  Condoleezza,” Advani recalled.

In his latest blog titled ‘Government denies visa: US Congress thinktank salutes Modi’, Advani, whose rivalry with the chief minister for BJP prime ministerial face has made quite a buzz, quoted extensively from the portions of the magazine write up on Modi. The BJP leader refers to a remark by a social scientist and expert on Gujarat who says “the future belongs to him (Modi)”.

Advani also referred to a recent opinion poll by ‘India Today’ to point out that 24 percent of those surveyed thought Modi should be the next prime minister of India while only 17 per cent polled for Rahul Gandhi.  Pointing out a dichotomy in US’ approach towards Modi, the senior BJP leader says while the US denies visa to the Gujarat chief minister, the think tank of that country showers praises on Modi.

Advani also drew attention to some Indian dailies reporting the ‘Times’ story with the heading ‘After Gandhi and Patel, Modi third Gujarati on Time cover’.

“Perhaps India’s best example of effective governance and impressive development is found in Gujarat, where controversial Chief Minister Narendra Modi has streamlined economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption in ways that have made the state a key driver of national economic growth,” he said quoting Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.

Advani also hailed CRS as a “bipartisan and independent” research wing of the US Congress.