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‘Look carefully at what PM said, don’t misinterpret’: Jaishankar on Modi’s ‘Trump sarkar’ remark

At the mega ‘Howdy, Modi’ event on September 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a tacit backing for US President Donald Trump who is seeking re-election, saying ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’.

SNS | New Delhi |

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the phrase ‘Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar’ in the Houston rally, merely referring to what the US president had used to endear himself to the Indian-American community during his presidential campaign.

Currently on a three-day trip to Washington DC, Jaishankar asserting India’s non-partisan stand vis-à-vis domestic American politics strongly refuted the notion that the prime minister used the phrase to endorse Trump’s candidature for his 2020 re-election campaign.

“No, he (PM) did not say that,” the minister said when asked during a news conference with Indian journalists about the implication of the prime minister purportedly using the slogan in his Houston address.

“I think, please, look very carefully at what the prime minister said. My recollection of what the prime minister said was that candidate Trump had used this (Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar). So PM is talking about the past. I don’t think we should, honestly, misinterpret what was said. I don’t think you’re doing a good service to anybody,” Jaishankar said in response to the question.

At the mega “Howdy, Modi” event on September 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a tacit backing for US President Donald Trump who is seeking re-election, saying ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’ in front of nearly 50,000 Indian-Americans.

“I admire President Trump for his sense of leadership, passion for America and concern for every American,” the Prime Minister had said.

“And he has already made the American economy strong again. He has achieved much for the US and for the world. Friends, we in India have connected well with America.

“The words of President Trump, ‘Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar’, rang loud and clear,” said PM Modi, pausing strategically, after saying “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar”.

“I mean, he (Modi) was pretty clear what he was talking about. He was saying, this is what you said as a candidate, which showed that you were trying to, (connect with India and its people even as a candidate),” Jaishankar said.

“We have a very non-partisan (approach to domestics US politics). So, our sort of approach to whatever happens in this country is their politics, not our politics,” Jaishankar said.

The Congress was quick to react to PM Modi’s “sloganeering” calling it a violation of India’s foreign policy.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We have a strategic partnership between India and the US, which is bi-partisan, which we fully endorse”.

“There is an honoured convention on India’s foreign policy that when we engage with foreign governments, the President of India or the Prime Minister are on their soil we do not take part in their domestic electoral politics,” he added.

“We have seen that India is taking positions or sides. And the Prime Minister using that moment to exhort and raising that slogan on ‘Abki Bar Trump Sarkar’ was better avoided,” Sharma further said.

The BJP, however, hit back through Amit Malviya, the party’s in-charge of national Information & Technology, who dismissed Sharma’s comment as “preposterous”.