Will appeal to US govt to clear Narendra Modi visa: Rajnath Singh

The BJP, which had so far maintained that it was not unduly bothered about denial of American visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday said it will appeal to the US administration to lift the travel ban on him.

Addressing a press conference here, party president Rajnath Singh said he would take up the issue with the US lawmakers in Washington during the week. "I will appeal to the US government to clear the US visa for the Gujarat Chief Minister," he said.

The party had always maintained that Modi was not clamouring for a US visa while criticising the US stand saying he was a democratically elected popular leader of the state.

Singh is on a five-day trip to New York and Washington to meet the Indian diaspora.

Ruling himself out of the prime ministerial race, Singh virtually anointed Narendra Modi as its man to the top job if the party comes to power after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Chairman of the party's Election Campaign Committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do and why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party," he told a press conference here.

Giving all indications that it could be Modi who is the prime ministerial candidate, Singh said the CM is the most popular and tallest leader of India now.

"He is a crowd-puller not only in Gujarat but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, from north to south, east to west. He is one single leader with a national appeal. His popularity will help the party in the elections," he said.

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