A Twitter exchange between Congress leader Milind Deora and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over India's grand show of strength in the United States during the latter's ongoing visit has caught everyone's attention.
On Monday, hours after the "Howdy, Modi," event in Houston where US President Donald Trump shared the stage with Indian prime minister, Deora tweeted, saying 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. @realDonaldTrump’s hospitality & recognition of Indian Americans’ contributions makes us proud," he further said.
.@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 à¤®à¤¿à¤²à¤¿à¤ÂÂÂÂÂà¤¦ à¤¦à¥ÂÂÂÂÂà¤µà¤°à¤¾ (@milinddeora) September 22, 2019
Thanking Deora, Modi, too, acknowledged the contribution of Milind's father Murlibhai, saying he would have been glad to see the "strengthening ties" between the two world powers.
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2019
The warmth and hospitality of @POTUS was outstanding. https://t.co/eyP1D3xRJo
Milind's position on the subject was in stark contrast to Congress', which accused the prime minister of campaigning for President Trump during the event. On Modi's 'Abki baar Trump Sarkar" slogan, Congress leader Anand Sharma said the former was in the US as Indian PM and not some star campaigner.
The controversy over Milind's exchange with PM, however, refuses to die down, compelling the former Congress Mumbai chief to issue a clarification.
In a statement, Deora said he noticed several reports speculating his future following his exchange of tweets with Modi.
"I will not compromise on my core beliefs even though politics continues to become increasingly uncharitable 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.
My full statement pic.twitter.com/T6ysvA6Qi0— Milind Deora à¤®à¤¿à¤²à¤¿à¤à¤¦ à¤¦à¥à¤µà¤°à¤¾ (@milinddeora) September 24, 2019
Deora said he "regrets the insinuations" made after the twitter exchange with Modi.
Earlier, just when people thought it was a customary exchange between the two leaders, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju entered the conversation and lauded Deora for his "honest comment".
"A matured & honest political comment by my dear friend @milinddeora ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Dare to be honest and fear no labor. "Honesty is not only the deepest policy, but the highest wisdom" ~ Charles Caleb Colton," Rijiju said.
Deora quote-tweeted Rijiju next, writing, "Thank you, Kiren. I have always believed that Foreign Policy should be divorced from partisan politics."
Thank you, Kiren. I have always believed that Foreign Policy should be divorced from partisan politics https://t.co/6irBo17HFW— Milind Deora à¤®à¤¿à¤²à¤¿à¤ÂÂÂÂÂà¤¦ à¤¦à¥ÂÂÂÂÂà¤µà¤°à¤¾ (@milinddeora) September 23, 2019
Congress further 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.