A letter sent to US President Barack Obama,bearing what appears to be the signatures of 65 MPs,triggered a controversy Wednesday after several purported signatories,including the CPMs Sitaram Yechury,denied having signed the letter.
The letter a petition to Obama asking him not to reverse the decision to deny Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a US visa was allegedly first sent last December,and was reportedly faxed to the White House again on Sunday in order to counter BJP president Rajnath Singhs lobbying for a change in the US policy.
Among those who disowned the letter were,besides Yechury,the DMKs K P Ramalingam and the CPIs M P Achuthan (both Rajya Sabha). The BJPs Sudarshan Bhagat,Lok Sabha member from Lohardaga in Jharkhand,wrote to Speaker Meira Kumar seeking an inquiry into the alleged forgeries.
These are serious charges and amount to a forgery… The Speaker should order an impartial inquiry and action should be taken against those responsible for it, Bhagat said. The Speakers office said it was yet to receive Bhagats letter.
In the morning,Yechury said,I dont remember having signed any such letter… It suggests some cut-and-paste job… It is neither in my character nor in the principles of my party,CPI(M),to petition any sovereign country on matters that fall strictly within the sovereign domain of that country… It is this very principle that leads us to strongly oppose and denounce any external interference in Indias internal affairs undermining its sovereignty.
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However,Mohammad Adeeb,an Independent member of the Rajya Sabha and the primary mover of the alleged letter,said that Yechury had signed the letter in front of me with his pen.
Adeeb,who spent the day appearing on television channels,said,I am ready to face any inquiry. He said he had spent three-four days to collect the signatures of the MPs. The letter,with the subject Human rights violations in the Indian state of Gujarat and the US policy on Chief Minister Narendra Modi,bore the signatures of 40 members of the Lok Sabha and 25 of the Rajya Sabha. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said: The denial by some MPs of having written to Obama shows that this is a clear conspiracy of the dirty tricks department of the Congress.
His colleague Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted: Sponsored activists dont trust Indian courts… Seeking external assistance to prop up their unjust cause. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said,It is for the US to decide (on a visa for Modi)… We have nothing to do with it.
Party spokesman Raj Babbar said: The nation is bigger than politics… We do not know what individuals are doing… The issue has not been discussed in any forum of the party.