Chicago: A huge controversy has erupted over the recent meeting between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and a US delegation that included four members of the House of Representatives - all Republicans.
It has been alleged that the meeting was ‘fixed’.
While a media report claimed that organisers of the US delegation had canvassed for participants in the trip at prices ranging from USD 3,000 to USD 16,000, the Gujarat Congress alleged that Modi bribed the delegation to praise him.
Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia dubbed the US delegation visit as a marketing gimmick and said it was a matter of shame.
The report in Hi India, a South Asian newspaper published from Chicago, however claimed that the organisers had canvassed in the Indian American community for participants in the trip.
The trip was sponsored by a political action committee (PAC), the National Indian American Public Policy Institute (NIAPPI) founded by Shalabh Kumar, a Chicago businessman. The politicians leading the delegation are Marlin Stutzman, Cyntia Wiederspahn, Cathy Rodgers and Aaron Schock.
An invitation circulated by NIAPPI in preparation for the trip said it was "limited to (an) elite group of American businesspersons".
The group has already met Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad and invited him to visit the US. On the schedule of an extensive trip is a stay at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, a visit to Karnataka as guest of the state government, a visit to the Taj Mahal, the tiger reserve at Ranthambore, a night at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and a dinner hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. A `Bollywood Extravaganza` has also been included for the guests.
The cost options given in the invitation were: `7 star trip` (business class travel, private air charter in India) USD 16,000 per person, `4 star trip` (commercial travel in India with visits to the palace excluded) USD 10,000 per person, and economy option-with all travel and hotel expenses borne by the individual- USD 3,000 per person.
(With IANS inputs)