Washington, Sep 17 — Denied a US visa for years, Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata party’s newly-anointed prime ministerial candidate, is all set to woo Indian diaspora via satellite video ahead of the 2014 parliamentary poll.
The Gujarat chief minister will address the annual national convention of the US chapter of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) at Tampa, Florida Sep 21 through satellite video with his speech telecast live on “TV Asia” across US, Canada, Europe, and India.
The theme of the conference is “Mission 2014: BJP 272+”, a reference to the party’s ambition to secure absolute majority on its own in the 543-member Lok Sabha, according to Chandrakant Patel, president-elect of OFBJP.
The event would kick start OFBJP’s campaign for “Congress Mukt Bharat Nirman” or building India without Congress – by winning power at the centre “with new thought and new hope to build one and excellent India” among the Indian diaspora, he said.
To be inaugurated by BJP vice president Smriti Irani Sep 20, the convention will be attended by over 1,000 members of the Indian American community.
Modi, who has been denied a US visa since 2005 for his alleged inaction in controlling the 2002 Godhra riots, has reached out to American audiences through satellite a couple of times earlier this year too.
Declining comment on BJP naming Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, the US state department last week said he would still have to apply for a visa like anyone else.
“There’s no change in our longstanding visa policy,” spokesperson Marie Harf said. But Modi “is welcome to apply for a visa and await a review like any other applicant”.
Modi has not applied for a US visa since 2005 when he was denied a diplomatic visa and his previously granted B-1/B-2 visa was revoked.
While there has been no change in the US position officially, the US business has been warming up to the Gujarat leader and the issue is being debated both in the administration and among the lawmakers.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])