Washington: Republican leaders have denied extending an invitation to Narendra Modi to address Congressional leaders and Indian-Americans via video link next week and accused a US-based supporter of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate of “misrepresenting” their party.

Chicago-based Shalli Kumar, a supporter of Modi, has been served with a “cease and desist” letter by the office of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers advising him to stop misrepresenting the Republican party and one of its top lawmakers.

Amidst mounting criticism from secular forces, Republican party leaders yesterday said that they have not invited Modi to address them via video link at the Capitol Hill on November 19, in what could be a major embarrassment for the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Kumar, who had earlier this year taken a group of Republican lawmakers to Gandhinagar for meeting Modi, was sent the cease and desist letter by Rodgers, after it was brought to her notice that the Indian-American has issued a flyer in which he had inappropriately used the House seal and also put names and pictures of several top Republican lawmakers without their permission.

However, in a letter, which was circulated along with Kumar’s invitation letter, Rodgers had mentioned about “Bharat Divas” and the invitation to Modi to address the Indian- American-community and the Congressional leaders via video link. Rodgers’ office did not respond to questions on this letter.

A close associate of Modi in the US confirmed that the Gujarat Chief Minister was not addressing the controversial Capitol Hill meeting.

“He (Modi) will not address the November 19 event,” Jagdish Sewani of the Indian-American Public Affairs
Committee, said.

“Please be assured that Mr Modi has not been invited to address the House GOP Meetup. We have sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to Mr Shalli Kumar advising him to stop misrepresenting the GOP Conference and Chairman McMorris Rodgers,” Nicolas D Muzin, Director of Outreach & Coalitions, House Republican Conference, said in an email.

The email was in response to some Indian-Americans who had raised the issue of Modi being invited to address the Republican Party’s annual meet at the Capitol Hill for Indian-Americans.

“Additionally, I believe he (Kumar) is in violation of ethics rules regarding improper use of the Congressional seal, stationary, and indicia. I have been in touch with the House Committee on Administration about steps we can take to properly distance ourselves from his actions,” Muzin said in the email.

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