New Jersey: The US can no longer drag its feet but grant visa to a national leader of the stature of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi sooner than later, BJP President Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
Addressing a community reception hosted by Overseas Friends of BJP (OF-BJP) here, Singh praised Modi as a leader with national appeal, saying the US will have to give him a visa sooner than later.
"They will have to do it one day, if not now. If they do it now, it will be better," he said.
The meeting held at the TV Asia auditorium was telecast live by the channel.
Singh, who is on a five-day US visit, said he would be taking up the issue with US lawmakers in Washington and he expected America to revoke Modi`s visa ban soon.
"I do not need to praise the Gujarat chief minister...The whole world has praised Modi`s performance. Look at the paradox. The research paper of an agency of America admired Chief Minister Modi`s governance and achievements, but the government has been denying visa to the same man," he said.
The US government first denied Modi a visa in 2005 over allegations that his government did nothing to control the 2002 Godhra riots. He has not applied for a visa since.
While there has been no change in the US position officially, the US business has been warming up to the Gujarat leader and the issue is being debated both in the administration and among the lawmakers.
Three Republican lawmakers who met Modi in Gujarat recently had promised to work towards getting him a visa. One of them raised the matter at a Congressional hearing subsequently.
Singh, who was dressed in his usual white dhoti kurta and a Nehru jacket, said BJP was better than other parties as "every other party has had vertical splits but BJP never. It has a vision and has stuck to that vision since the formation of Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951," he said.
India has the resources, human and material, to become a developed country and all it needs is a leader with a vision, who can lead with a firm hand, he said.
"We don`t need your money," Singh told NRIs, adding, "but your time and talent to connect to your district in Lok Sabha constituency in India and use all means of communication to support the BJP".
Singh said the BJP motto for 2014 elections is to make India a global leader and global player not just economically and in strategic matters but also spiritually and culturally.
BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar, MP, Dr Sudhanshu Trivedi, advisor to the BJP President and Vijay Jolly, BJP Convener for Overseas Affairs spoke on the occasion.