New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday clarified that the US business leaders delegation that met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi this week paid their own travel, hotel and food expenses and no state government in India sponsored their visit.
The clarification came after media reports said the visit was "privately organised". The Congress also alleged that the visitors were paid for the visit.
"The US business leaders delegation to India paid their own travel, hotel and food expenses. No government in India sponsored their visit. No money was paid by government of United States of America, neither by BJP and nor by govternment of India (sic)," BJP Overseas Affairs cell convener Vijay Jolly said in a statement Saturday.
A report in `Hi India`, a news portal for South Asians, suggested that the trip, facilitated by the US-based Overseas Friends of BJP, was privately organised and an invitation was circulated via a think tank.
The invite said the trip was for a select few and mentioned cost options. But it is not confirmed that the members actually paid to be part of the delegation.
"In US, nothing comes for free. Even dinners hosted by President Obama are charged at USD 60,000- 70,000 per plate. Arranging business delegations and hosting dinners is an acceptable part of fund raising in US," Jolly said.
"Now this would come as a foreign idea to the Congress culturists in India, where even today, the petrol bills for Robert Vadera and his personal staff is paid for by the government, even if they are going abroad for shopping," he alleged.
Jolly also stated that US-based National Indian American Public Policy Institute, headed by Punjabi NRI business leader Shalabh Kumar, with great effort got a business leaders delegation to come to India - a move that he said would encourage trade and boost foreign direct investment (FDI).
"Who paid for it or how they paid for it should not be our concern as long as no government in India paid for it. It is still better than having to pay the peons and power brokers outside UPA cabinet ministries just to meet our own Indian ministers," he asserted.
Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged Saturday: "It is a matter of shame for our state. People were sent here after taking $16,000 and they were passed off as an official delegation. This is a fraud, Modi should resign and apologise to the people."