US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has yet again issued a press statement clearing the air regarding her participation in the World Hindu Congress at Chicago.
The clarification came after some reports claimed that Gabbard was the Chair of the event, even though she had withdrawn her participation over four months ago.
Reiterating the stand she took on April 26 this year, the American politician’s office had said on September 4 that she was withdrawing “due to ethical reasons arising from participating in partisan politics of India in America”.
The stated purpose of the World Hindu Congress, which is being organised in Chicago from September 7-9, is “...a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good”.
Congresswoman Gabbard’s reasons for withdrawing her participation were made very clear in her letter to the event organisers dated April 26.
In the earlier letter addressed to Abhaya Asthana, who is one of the organisers, Gabbard stated: “As you may recall in our original meeting in September when you came to request my participation as chair of the World Hindu Congress, I raised my concern to you about your event becoming a platform for partisan politics in India, and asked you if that would be the case. You assured me it would not be.”
Till then, she had not received information from Asthana directly about invited or confirmed speakers. However, now it is confirmed that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will be speaking at the event.
Reiterating her earlier stand, the release said, “I have seen on your website the significant number of Indian partisan politicians will be speaking at and playing an important role at the World Hindu Congress in Chicago.”
The statement added, “Due to ethical concerns and problems that surround my participating in any partisan political event in America, I respectfully withdraw myself from serving as an honorary chair of the world Hindu Congress.”
A petition has been filed online appealing to professor Sriprakash Kothari to withdraw from his role as Chair of the event.
Professor Kothari is the Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-Sloan School of Management.