Modi-Powell meet gets BJP adrenalin going

Modi-Powell meet gets BJP adrenalin going

After a decade long isolation and refusal of visa, top US diplomat in the country, Nancy Powell came calling on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his Gandhinagar residence in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

This was a photo op and moment that probably he had been waiting for. The handshakes, and the exchange of pleasantries, and it could not have come at a better time for him.

It, indeed, was a huge morale booster for him and his party.

Though Powell came with her delegation, the details of the meeting have not been disclosed. Amidst predictions that the more than nine-year isolation was coming to an end, the meeting is being seen as a significant step politically. Observers say  pollsters having predicted a surge in BJP’s fortunes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections could have prompted the initiative by the US administration.

It is not just the end of isolation from the US, prior to this, the UK government and the European Union too have bent forward to meet the Gujarat CM, realising the growing importance of the CM in Indian polity.

The US, however, has downplayed the meeting. In a statement, the US embassy said, “The meeting was part of the US Mission’s outreach to senior leaders of India’s major political parties in advance of the upcoming national elections.’’

The Opposition Congress and Modi’s opponents are also trying to downplay the meeting. Leader of the Opposition in Gujarat, Shankersinh Vaghela, who met Powell said, “There is nothing unusual about such a meeting; he is the head of the state, but we have apprised her of the human development index in the state, the human rights violations since 2002 and the present scenario of development.’’

Even as opponents continue to be dismissive of the meeting and the initiative, the Powell-Modi interaction is surely being seen as a U-turn by the US government as of now.

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