Congress distances itself from Modi visa controversy

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Congress Wednesday distanced itself from the controversy over MPs writing to US President Barack Obama on the issue of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying nothing was discussed in the party.

"The issue has not been discussed in any forum of the party, nor of parliament," Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar told reporters who asked him about the MPs' letter to Obama and the British prime minister.

"The nation is bigger than politics," he said.

While Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury denied having signed any such letter, BJP MP from Jharkhand's Lohardaga Sudarshan Bhagat complained to Speaker Meira Kumar and demanded an investigation.

"These are serious charges and amount to forgery. I have demanded that the speaker order an impartial inquiry and action be taken against those responsible," he said.

"There is news circulating that I am a signatory to a petition to the US president asking for the denial of US visa for the Gujarat chief minister. I deny having signed any such letter," Yechury said.

Independent Rajya Sabha member Mohammed Adeeb said Tuesday that he has Sunday re-sent a letter written last year by many MPs to the US president.

The letter sought to know if the US government, which in 2002 denied visa to Modi after the communal riots in the state, had changed its policy on the issue.

The earlier letter was sent in 2012, said Adeeb, who added that BJP chief Rajnath Singh's lobbying in the US for a visa to Modi has triggered the issue.

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