The U.S. President Barack Obama may be coming under the title of a chief guest in India, most are not ready to welcome him here.
By Rakesh Raman
The U.S. President Barack Obama, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26, had to cancel his visit to Taj Mahal in Agra (Uttar Pradesh), a city near New Delhi.
Obama had planned to visit Taj Mahal along with his wife, Michelle Obama, on January 27. The official reason being given for the cancellation of Agra visit is Obama’s sudden change in schedule to visit Saudi Arabia to condole the recent death of King Abdullah.
However, reports suggest that the Uttar Pradesh government did not allow Obama to visit Taj Mahal with his usual security paraphernalia including security vehicles and equipment.
According to The Indian Express, President Obama’s decision to cancel his visit to Agra came after Uttar Pradesh authorities said that he would not be allowed to use his armour-plated car to drive through the Taj Mahal’s eastern gate.
Reportedly, the Supreme Court of India had earlier directed all visitors to Taj Mahal to disembark about 500 metres away from it, and board an electric vehicle to the entry gate.
As the local authorities expected Obama and his wife to visit the white marble mausoleum like ordinary people, Obama had to cancel his visit.
Although the local authorities could have considered to give special permission to Obama and his wife, they preferred not to do it because the state government is currently under Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of Samajawadi Party – which is an opposition party to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is heading the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Obama will be the chief guest at the Indian Republic Day function, he is largely being considered a personal guest of Modi, who presumably wants to return favors to Obama because the U.S. administration recently allowed Modi to visit America after denying him visa for his alleged role in the human rights violations in Gujarat.
In 2002, Modi was the Chief Minister of India’s Gujarat state where 2,000 Muslims were murdered in communal riots besides there were incidents of rape, robbery, and widespread destruction of property affecting Muslims.
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As a result, the U.S. administration denied visa to Modi in view of the allegations of human rights violations against him in the 2002 incidents of riots and carnage. But when he became Prime Minister of India, Modi was allowed by Obama administration to visit the USA.
Obviously, Modi has reciprocated and called Obama to be his guest. Plus, Modi wants a tacit support of the U.S. for his leadership in the country, as Modi has mostly been a politician in Gujarat – a small state in India.
Now, as he has maneuvered to become the Prime Minister of India, Modi’s ability to manage the national affairs is being challenged, although the media (which is largely paid media directly under the control of the government) is projecting him as a national leader.
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Opposition political parties understand Modi’s tricks and they have expressed their opposition to Obama’s visit. While the Uttar Pradesh government did not allow Obama to visit Taj Mahal in Agra, six Left parties in India – the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML)-Liberation, AIFB, SUCI(C) and RSP – planned to protest against Obama‘s visit in India. They have cited a number of reasons for their protest against Obama and his administration.
Now Obama may be coming under the title of a chief guest in India, most are not ready to welcome him here.
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