Congress leader Milind Deora (File Photo)
Former Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora on Tuesday described speculation about his future political path as "unfounded", after the exchange of tweets between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latter's US visit triggered controversies in the political corridor of India. There have been speculations about Deora's future political role after he praised Modi's address in the historic "Howdy Modi" event in Houston as a momentous first for India's soft power diplomacy. Modi had responded to the Congress leader's tweet and recalled his late friend and Milind's father Murli Deora's commitment to strong ties with the USA.
In a statement, Deora said he has inherited the legacy of the Indo-United States relationship from hisfather Murli Deora. "My father first visited the US in 1968 as an exchange student, and after meeting Robert F Kennedy, decided to enter public life and build stronger ties between both democracies. My familys relationships with institutions, political parties and leaders were built keeping Indias interests in mind," he said.
Deora said his father's efforts and relationships helped strengthen Indias national interest. "My late father worked closely with Indian Prime Ministers and US Presidents cutting across party lines in the spirit of bipartisanship. Murlibhai deserves respect because he put his country before party. Fortunately, politics at the time was not as confrontational and ungracious as it is today," he said.
"I express regret on the insinuations and unwarranted criticism in sections of media and social media. For those who have already imagined and chartered my forward path, I wish to give you one unambiguous answer: I will serve my country to the best of my ability and I will remain bipartisan when it comes to issues of national interest and foreign policy," he said.
The experience and relationships that he has inherited and nurtured have little meaning if they cannot be leveraged for India, Deora said. "Finally, I am my fathers son. Friendship was the bedrock of his politics. It has earned us friends and well-wishers from Bhuleshwar to Boston and Walkeshwar to Washington. I will not compromise on my core beliefs even though politics continues to become increasinglyuncharitable and partisan," Deora said.
While I appreciate the kind words expressed by Murlibhai’s friends and well-wishers, I express regret on the insinuations and unwarranted criticism in sections of media and social media.— Milind Deora à¤®à¤¿à¤²à¤¿à¤à¤¦ à¤¦à¥à¤µà¤°à¤¾ (@milinddeora) September 24, 2019
My full statement pic.twitter.com/T6ysvA6Qi0
Taking to Twitter following Prime Minister Modi's "Howdy, Modi" event, Deora on Monday tweeted, "PM Modi's Houston address was a momentous first for India’s soft power diplomacy. My father Murlibhai was one of the early architects of deeper Indo-US ties. Donald Trumps hospitality and recognition of Indian Americans’ contributions makes us proud".
Responding to the tweet, Modi wrote, "You are absolutely correct when you highlight my friend, late Murli Deora Ji's commitment to strong ties with USA. He would have been really glad to see the strengthening of ties between our nations".
Thank you @milinddeora.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2019
You are absolutely correct when you highlight my friend, late Murli Deora Ji’s commitment to strong ties with USA. He would have been really glad to see the strengthening of ties between our nations.
The warmth and hospitality of @POTUS was outstanding. https://t.co/eyP1D3xRJo
Interestingly, the Congress on Monday accused the PM of violating Indian foreign policy's "time honoured principle" of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country by "actively campaigning" for the US president at the Houston event.
Milind Deora, also a former Union minister, resigned as the president of the Mumbai Congress days after then party chief Rahul Gandhi put in his paper, taking accountability of the party's disastrous performance in Lok Sabha elections this year.