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Senior U.S. Lawmakers want Modi to address U.S. Congress in June

Invitation to address Senate and House is considered a great honor. Past year Pope Francis and Japanese PM Abe were the only invitees.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
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U.S. Capitol, Washington DC. Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Capitol, Washington DC. Wikimedia Commons

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee called on Tuesday for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint meeting of Congress during a visit to Washington in June.

“Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas – defense, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation and innovation – we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the prime minister,” Representatives Ed Royce, the Republican committee chairman, and Eliot Engel, the panel’s ranking Democrat, wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The invitation would be a sharp turnaround for a leader who was once barred from the United States over massacres of Muslims.

A spokeswoman for Ryan said she had no announcement at this time about whether Ryan would extend the invitation.

Invitations to address the Senate and House are considered a great honor. There have been only two in the past year: Pope Francis, on Sept. 24, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on April 29, 2015.

When Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies swept India’s elections in 2014, there initially were questions about whether he would qualify for a visa. President Barack Obama quickly dismissed the issue by inviting him to the White House when he called to congratulate him on his victory.

In 2002, when Modi had just become Gujarat’s chief minister, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in sectarian riots in the state.

The administration of President George W. Bush denied Modi a visa in 2005 under a 1998 U.S. law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

Modi denied any wrongdoing. India’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 he had no case to answer.

Washington sees its relationship with India as critical, partly to counterbalance China’s rising power. Obama has called it “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

The letter to Ryan was also signed by Republican Representative George Holding and Democrat Ami Bera, the co-chairmen of the Congress Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle)

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Priyanka Chopra scores Base 25 Million Followers; Ahead Of Modi, Big B

Priyanka is an ardent user of digital platforms and uses social media to stay connected with her fans and followers.

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Priyanka Chopra Has Big Plans Set For Hollywood. Flickr
Priyanka Chopra Has Big Plans Set For Hollywood. Flickr

Here’s a new feather on Priyanka Chopra’s decorated hat. The actress has scored a fan base of 25 million on Instagram, leaving behind Indian icons like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s followers on the photo-sharing platform.

Modi has 13.5 million followers, while Big B has a score of 9.5 million. Priyanka, 35, is also ahead of Virat Kohli (22.7 million), Shah Rukh Khan (13.3 million), Salman Khan (17.3 million), Aamir Khan (1.2 million) and Deepika Padukone (24.9 million).

Fondly called as the “Desi girl”, Priyanka thanked her fans for showering her with so much of love.

“25 million strong… Thank you for the love… Love you right back,” she wrote on her Instagram Stories on Thursday.

A former Miss World, Priyanka carved her niche in the Hindi cinema world before making inroads into Hollywood, beginning by launching a singing career and then landing the lead role in American television show “Quantico”.

The show gave her global popularity, which also led her to bag the villain's role in "Baywatch" and also a part in "A Kid Like Jake".
The show gave her global popularity, which also led her to bag the villain’s role in “Baywatch” and also a part in “A Kid Like Jake”. Flickr

The show gave her global popularity, which also led her to bag the villain’s role in “Baywatch” and also a part in “A Kid Like Jake”.

Now she is keeping the paparazzi busy as she is rumoured to be in a relationship with pop singer Nick Jonas, who has a following of 15.5 million on Instagram.

Priyanka is an ardent user of digital platforms and uses social media to stay connected with her fans and followers.

On the acting front, Priyanka will soon be seen sharing screen space with Salman in the upcoming film “Bharat”, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar.

Also read: Priyanka Chopra’s subtle reply when asked about her marriage

Priyanka will be teaming up with Salman on the big screen after a gap of 11 years, after their last appearance in “God Tussi Great Ho” in 2008. “Bharat” is an official adaptation of a 2014 South Korean film “Ode To My Father”. (IANS)