Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Even as US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell plans to meet Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate for 2014 General elections, Narendra Modi, later this week, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday slammed the Gujarat Chief Minister saying that he cannot be the brand ambassador of India.
Khurshid, who was questioned by a news channel reporter, whether the Gujarat Chief Minister is the best person to sell India`s growth story to the west, responded by saying that “Modi cannot be the brand ambassador of India.”
On the issue of US possibly changing its policy towards Modi, the Extremal Affairs Minister asserted that the US administration was well versed and had high standards, good records and were committed to liberal values.
The BJP leader has been denied a US visa for his alleged role or inaction during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Powell`s meeting with Modi would put the US position in line with European nations and Australia which have warmed up to Modi since his emergence as a potential prime minister in India`s upcoming general elections in India. The US revoked Modi`s visa in 2005 under a law barring entry of foreign officials seen as responsible for "severe violations of religious freedom". He has not applied for a US visa since then. Since Modi`s emergence as a national leader, US business lobby has reached out to him, an IANS report said.
Speaking to a news channel, the Congress leader raked up the 2002 Gujarat riots issue and targeted Modi on Maya Kodnani`s sentencing in the riots case. Khurshid asked the Gujarat government to openly speak on Kodnani, as to whether she was an part of establishment when the communal violence took place.
A special SIT court had in August 2012 sentenced Kodnani to 18 years life imprisonment in connection with the 2002 riots at Naroda Patiya where 97 people were brutally killed. Kodanai, who was made Minister of State for Women and Child Development in 2007, resigned after she was arrested in the case in March 2009.
When asked about coalition partners NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel saying that there is no need for debate once courts had ruled on Modi`s role during the riots, Khurshid exhorted that the issue is not that criminal trial should be there against Modi, but the BJP leader should come forward and admit that it was his responsibility what happened in Gujarat and then he can ask the people of this nation whether they will accept him as the prime minister or not.