MPs on Monsanto junket to US, despite criticism

Ignoring widespread criticism, MPs belonging to the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal on Saturday flew out on a week-long trip to the US sponsored by global GM crop player Monsanto. The BJP had pulled out four of its MPs from the tour.

Monsanto, a world leader in developing genetically modified seeds, had invited four BJP MPs, three from the Shiv Sena and one each from the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi to visit Iowa for the annual outdoor agricultural equipment exhibition in the USA.

The exhibition is from August 25 to 28 and the study tour is from August 24 to 30. Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh(RSS)-affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), however, objected to the BJP MPs being part of the Monsanto-sponsored tour and described the trip as one aimed at “bribing” the Parliamentarians.

Demanding a probe into all those MPs who have benefited from such tours in the past two decades, Ashwani Mahajan, convener of the Manch said, “The tour amounts to bribing the MPs as the issue of allowing GM crop trials in India is under consideration of the Government of India.”

On directions from the BJP top brass, three of its leaders Siwan MP Om Parkash Yadav, Bulandshahr MP Bhola Singh, Aligarh MP Satish Gautam and Udaipur MP Arjun Lal Meena decided not to be part of the delegation.

The BJP-led NDA government has put field trials of 13 genetically-modified (GM) crops on hold reportedly after RSS affiliates SJM and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh  had objected to carrying out of such trials after an environment Ministry panel cleared them.

 “The MPs have left for the tour after the party allowed them permission on an individual basis,” Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete said.

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