US lawmaker advocate of visa for Modi loses in polls
Washington: The only US lawmaker to have publicly advocated revocation of visa ban on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi lost the Congressional election to a Democrat.
Joe Walsh, a far-right Tea Party member, was defeated resoundingly by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the Eighth Congressional District of Illinois by nearly 10 percentage points.
His defeat was welcomed by several Indian American groups, including the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).
"In a nation that cherishes tolerance, Mr Walsh's defeat demonstrates the futility of divisive agendas and the promotion of human rights violators," said Shaheen Khateeb, president of IAMC.
Walsh, who is also a hawkish supporter of Israel, was the first elected official to openly campaign for granting a visa to Modi, whose entry into the US was banned under the International Religious Freedom Act.
This law makes any foreign government official who "was responsible for severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for a US visa.
The law was invoked for Modi following allegations of complicity in the Gujarat riots in 2002.
According to Huffington Post nearly USD 6.6 million in outside spending was reported on this seat, including USD 2.7 million worth of ads attacking Duckworth poured into the race by conservative group's in the race's final days.
Eminent Indian Americans, in particular Muslims and secular groups, welcomed the defeat Waslsh and termed this as a victory for pluralism and tolerance and defeat for racism and religious bigotry.