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'We Don't Participate in Their Domestic Electoral Politics': Oppn Reacts to Modi's 'Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar'

While the Congress and the Left parties criticised PM Modi for endorsing Trump's re-election by taking a 'partisan' position, the BJP said the event has left an indelible footprint of a stronger India on the world map.

PTI

Updated:September 23, 2019, 9:26 PM IST
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'We Don't Participate in Their Domestic Electoral Politics': Oppn Reacts to Modi's 'Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump walk the perimeter of the arena floor to greet attendants after Modi's speech during the ‘Howdi Modi’ event on September 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

New Delhi: The opposition on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating Indian foreign policy's "time honoured principle" of not interfering in elections of another country by "campaigning" for US President Donald Trump at the 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston, which the BJP hailed as "historic".

While the Congress and the Left parties criticised Modi for endorsing Trump's re-election by taking a "partisan" position, the BJP said the event has left an indelible footprint of a stronger India on the world map.

The BJP hailed the event in Houston as "unprecedented" and "history in the making".

BJP chief Amit Shah termed it a historic day in world politics, saying leaders of two most powerful democracies shared their ideas and dreams for a prosperous world together in a way that one has never seen before.

The Congress said by taking a "partisan" position, the prime minister has done a "disservice" to long-term strategic Indo-US relations.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said it should not be seen that India is taking sides and the prime minister using the Houston platform to exhort and raise the slogan of 'Ab ki baar Trump sarkar' was better avoided.

"We have a strategic partnership between India and the United States of America which is bipartisan, which we fully endorse.

"But, there is a time-honoured convention of India's foreign policy that when we engage with the foreign governments or the President or Prime Minister when on foreign soil, we do not take part in the domestic electoral politics. Prime Minister should have honoured that," Sharma told reporters.

"It should not be seen that India is taking positions or sides and the prime minister using that platform to exhort and raise that slogan on 'Ab ki baar Trump sarkar' was better avoided," the Congress leader said.

Hailing the 'Howdy Modi' event in Houston as "unprecedented" and "history in the making", top BJP leaders on Monday said it has left an indelible footprint of a stronger India on the world map.

"A historic day in world politics! Leaders of the two most powerful democracies shared their ideas & dreams for a prosperous world together in a way that one has never seen before. #HowdyModi was unprecedented. It has left an indelible footprint of a stronger India on world map," BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted.

In a reference to Modi's attack on Pakistan over the issue of terrorism, he said the message to the world is loud and clear that this "new India" will leave no stone unturned to keep the country safe and united.

Thanks to Modi's leadership, the entire world today stands firmly with India in its decisive fight against the menace of terrorism, Shah said, asserting that the prime minister's popularity has soared across the globe.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the event in Houston has reignited shared Indian-American dreams and their bright futures.

"The oldest and largest democracies joined hands today giving us hope and a promising future. It was history in the making," he said.

BJP's Amit Malviya took a dig at the opposition Congress for its criticism and called its charge preposterous.

"I can understand some in the Congress are peeved at the massive success of Howdy Modi but to allege that the PM interfered in US elections is preposterous!

"He referred to the 'Aabki Baar Trump Sarkar' slogan and its resonance with the Indian-American community back in 2016! Listen," the BJP's IT department head said while posting a clipping of the prime minister's speech.

The Left parties, however, hit out at Modi, saying his "virtually campaigning" for President Donald Trump at the 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston was "strange" and "unprecedented".

"This is a strange thing that has happened. In India we never allow any foreigner to campaign in our domestic elections, and our PM going there and virtually campaigning for President Trump for his re-election and raising the same slogan used in India -- as "Abki baar Trump ki Sarkar'. This is something that's unprecedented," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters.

"An Indian PM campaigning for the US President? Our PM has become the election campaigner for Trump, that is the outcome of 'Howdy,Modi'," said CPI general secretary D Raja.

Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is in Tihar jail on charges of corruption, also took a dig at the prime minister over his "everything is fine in India" remark in Houston.

"Bharat mai sab achha hai. Except for unemployment, loss of existing jobs, lower wages, mob violence, lockdown in Kashmir and throwing Opposition leaders in prison," Chidambaram tweeted through his family.

Congress's Sharma said, "As far as India's strategic interests are concerned, we have to engage with all the parties concerned. We wish the prime minister for his visit. We hope that President Trump would appreciate the Indian diaspora greeting him when the prime minister was there," he said.

On President Trump attending the 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston, he said the Congress has no objections to it.

Earlier, in a series of tweets, Sharma said Modi was in the US as India's prime minister, and not a star campaigner in the US elections.

"Mr Prime Minister, you have violated the time honoured principle of Indian foreign policy of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country. This is a singular disservice to the long-term strategic interests of India," Sharma said in a tweet after the Texas event where Modi and Trump shared the stage.

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