Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, a serving IFS officer, whose arrest and subsequent strip search in New York has triggered a major diplomatic row between India and the US, was Thursday offered a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Rampur parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh.
Making the offer state’s urban development minister and Rampur MLA Azam Khan. Presently, the Rampur LS seat is held by expelled SP leader Jaya Prada. The ruling party in UP has not yet announced any candidate from Rampur, which is also the native district of Khan.
“If Devyani desires, she can resign from her job and contest from Rampur parliamentary seat. As a Lok Sabha member, she can register her protest strongly against the USA in parliament after winning the seat,” Azam stated.
Talking to the media on the sidelines of a function at Vidhan Bhawan in Lucknow, Khan said a similar offer was made by SP to the wife of former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare who was killed during 26/11 Mumbai attack. “We had offered her to contest the Lok Sabha elections, but she denied,” he added.
On the alleged strip-search of Devyani, a serving diplomat, Azam hit out at the US saying the country has a history of acting “indecently with Indians.” He said he too had faced frisking and detention at Boston’s Logan International Airport in April this year when he had accompanied Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for a lecture at Harvard University over the successful organisation of Kumbh Mela.
“USA acts indecently with Indians. It has not spared even respected dignitaries of our country. I too faced humiliation during my visit to USA. I had lodged protest immediately while several Indian personalities who underwent similar experience revealed it after several years,” he added.
Khan, the Muslim face of the Samajwadi Party, also questioned the “silence” maintained by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders over the diplomatic row. “It is really saddening that BJP and VHP, that consider themselves as flag-bearer of Indian culture and heritage, have remained silent over the issue,” he said.
Khobragade, 39, the deputy consul general at the Indian Consulate in New York, was arrested last week and has been accused of visa fraud and for making false statements about the salary and employment terms of a domestic help she had got from India.