Rahul Gandhi in New York: Will He Stoke Another Controversy Before PM Modi’s State Visit to US?


Out of all the events for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the most interesting will be the one with the Indian diaspora at New York City’s Madison Square on June 4. (Image: PTI/File)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will leave for US on May 31 and return to India on June 10 with several meetings lined up. His visit is only a few days before PM Narendra Modi embarks on his state visit to the US on June 22

On a high after the Karnataka win, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is determined to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP abroad. On May 31, he will leave for the US and return to India on June 10 with several meetings lined up with students, entrepreneurs and NRIs; this will be his first visit abroad after being disqualified as an MP.

Gandhi’s visit is only a few days before the prime minister embarks on his state visit to the US on June 22, on a special invite by President Joe Biden. But out of all the programmes for the former Lok Sabha MP, the most interesting and, perhaps, most likely to stoke a controversy will be the one he has with the Indian diaspora on June 4 at New York City’s Madison Square.

Located in midtown Manhattan, Madison Square is a massive indoor arena and has been the hub of a number of political activities and celebrity events. It was here that Prime Minister Modi held an impressive show back in 2014 with overseas Indians and NRIS.

While sources in the Congress said Gandhi had not timed his visit with the PM’s impending visit, the fact is that he is likely to set the stage for some political confrontation back home. He is likely to raise the issue of his disqualification since he is now fighting a legal battle to quash the conviction. He will also make his point about the Karnataka results and its implications for the BJP’s style of politics.

But whenever Gandhi has travelled abroad, delivered lectures and addressed press conferences, he has always invited some controversy or the other. Hence, giving the BJP an opportunity to accuse him of “maligning the image of the country” on foreign shores.

For example, when Gandhi had visited the UK recently, he had spoken about the “death of democracy” in India and how the opposition was muzzled in parliament, during a media intervention and speech at Cambridge University. The saffron camp had demanded an apology from the former Congress chief and said he had let down India’s “image” abroad.

So, all eyes are once again on his visit to America.

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