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Facing flak for praising PM on ‘Howdy Modi’, Milind Deora says won’t compromise on core beliefs

Milind Deora said in a tweet, “PM Modi’s Houston address was a momentous first for India’s soft power diplomacy. My father Murlibhai was one of the early architects of deeper Indo-US ties. Donald Trump’s hospitality and recognition of Indian Americans’ contributions makes us proud.”

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: September 24, 2019 7:24:09 pm
Milind Deora defies party line, heaps praise on PM over ‘Howdy Modi’ Later, in response to Modi’s tweet, Milind stated that his father put the “nation first” and worked with all governments. He further spoke on how both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge India’s leadership in the 21st century. (Source: File)

Hours after former Congress MP Milind Deora praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his address in Houston on Monday, the ex-Union minister issued a statement on receiving ‘insinuations and unwarranted criticism in sections of media and social media’ directed at the bond shared by his late father and the PM. He stated that he was proud of Murli Deora’s, his late father, that his efforts and relationships helped strengthen India’s national interest.

“My late father worked closely with Indian Prime Minister and US Presidents — cutting across party lines — in the spirit of bipartisanship. Murlibhai deserves respect because he was a true patriot who put nation first. Fortunately, politics at the time was not as confrontational and ungracious as it is today,” Deora’s statement said on Tuesday.

Responding to the backlash received from the social media, the former Mumbai Congress unit president said, “I will serve my country to the best of my ability and I will remain bipartisan when it comes to issues of national interest and foreign policy. The experience and relationships that I have inherited and nurtured have little meaning if they cannot be leveraged for India.”

Deora said: “Finally, I am my father’s son. Friendship was the bedrock of his politics. It has earned us friends and well-wishers from Bhuleshwar to Boston and Walkeshwar to Washington. I will not compromise on my core beliefs even though politics continues to become increasingly uncharitable and partisan.”

Earlier today, just, as Congress targeted Modi for “campaigning for US President Donald Trump” at the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston on Monday, Deora, took a different line.

Praising the Prime Minister for his address in Houston, Deora, a former Mumbai Congress unit president and ex-Union minister, said in a tweet, “PM Modi’s Houston address was a momentous first for India’s soft power diplomacy. My father Murlibhai was one of the early architects of deeper Indo-US ties. Donald Trump’s hospitality and recognition of Indian Americans’ contributions makes us proud.”

Recalling his friendship with former Congress leader Murli Deora, Modi in a tweet said that Deora’s commitment had made ties with the United States strong.

Replying to Deora’s tweet, Modi recalled his friendship with Murli Deora, and claimed that the late Union Minister’s commitment had made ties with the US strong. “You are absolutely correct when you highlight my friend, late Murli Deora ji’s commitment to strong ties with USA. He would have been really glad to see the strengthening of ties between our nations,” Modi said in his tweet. Later, in response to Modi’s tweet, Milind stated that his father put the “nation first” and worked with all governments. He further spoke on how both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge India’s leadership in the 21st century.

Earlier, in a series of tweets, senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma, a former External Affairs Minister, accused Modi of “violating the time-honoured principle of Indian foreign policy of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country. Stating that Modi was in the US as India’s PM and not as a star campaigner in the US elections, Sharma said, “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.”

Former Mumbai unit president Sanjay Nirupam, seen as Milind’s arch rival within the party in Mumbai, targeted him over his tweet. “While there should be internal democracy and freedom of speech within a political party, no one should cross the party line,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s re-election bid from the South Karad Assembly seat suffered a jolt on Monday, with the BJP inducting his close associate Anandrao Patil’s son Pratap along with several other local Congress leaders into its ranks. Patil, a Congress MLC, has been associated with Chavan for over three decades and has overseen his election campaign.

Meanwhile, former Maharashtra Congress minister Rajendra Darda has denied reports that he was on his way out of the Congress. Speculation over the media baron’s next move had intensified on Monday after reports emerged that he had refused to accept the chairmanship of the Congress’s media and communications committee for the state polls. But Darda said that he had refused the post in July itself, owing to personal reasons and that he would continue to be with the Congress.

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