Day after triggering speculations for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston, Congress leader Milind Deora on Tuesday regretted the "unwarranted criticism" and said he will not compromise on his core belief "even though politics continues to become increasingly uncharitable and partisan".
In a statement, Milind Deora said he has inherited the legacy of the India-United States relationship from his father 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 family's relationships with institutions, political parties and leaders were built keeping India's interests in mind," he 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.
My full statement pic.twitter.com/T6ysvA6Qi0
— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) September 24, 2019
He said his father's efforts and relationships helped strengthen India's 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, Milind 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 increasingly uncharitable and partisan," he said.
State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant told reporters in Mumbai that the AICC will soon respond to Deora's remarks.
On Monday, Milind Deora praise Modi for the 'Howdy, Modi!' event, which was also attended by US president Donald Trump, and termed the prime minister's Houston visit a "momentous first for India's soft power diplomacy."
.@PMOIndia’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.@realDonaldTrump’s hospitality & recognition of Indian Americans’ contributions makes us proud
— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) September 22, 2019
Responding to the tweet, Modi recalled Murli Deora's commitment to strengthen ties between India and the United States.
Thank you @milinddeora.
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
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2019
Meanwhile, the Congress had accused Modi 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 in Houston. This paved way for speculations about his future political path.
Milind Deora resigned as the president of the Mumbai Congress after the party's debacle in Lok Sabha elections. Milind Deora, who represented Mumbai South constituency in 2004 and 2009, lost to Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant in two successive Lok Sabha elections.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Sep 24, 2019 20:21:07 IST