'Abki Baar Trump Sarkar' the phrase by PM Modi irked the Opposition, who accused the Prime Minister of blatantly endorsing Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2020 US Presidential elections and breaching India's foreign policy of not being bipartisan during the Howdy, Modi! in Houston.
While Trump played the second fiddle to the extravagance, Prime Minister Modi in his speech said, 'Abki Baar Trump Sarkar' to put on display the bonhomie of New Delhi and Washington, while the Indian-American was left exhilarated. However, Congress' Anand Sharma and Secretary-General of CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury saw this as an attack on the sovereignty of both India and the United States.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma stated how the statement was a breach of India's foreign policy engagement of not 'meddling' into the domestic electoral politics of any country. He added how India's engagement with the US is not restricted to Democratic or Republican party and accused the Prime Minister of acting like a 'star campaigner' in the US elections.
He said, "There has been a time-honoured convention in our foreign policy engagements that India does not meddle in domestic electoral politics nor does the Prime Minister of India, the President of India while visiting a country take a partisan position which is seen as endorsing one political party or leader. Prime minister should have respected that. It was very disturbing to see that the prime minister was openly extorting and raising the slogan 'Abki Baar Trump Sarkar'. That was better avoided. Because we have engaged with any US administration whether Democrats or Republicans without making any differentiation because it's a relationship between the strategic partners which we deeply value."
The Congress leader further drew this comparison with former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, saying that India engaged with former US Presidents from both parties- George W. Bush of the Republican and Barack Obama of the Democratic party.
He said, "Let me remind that when prime minister dr Manmohan Singh was in office, us president was here, from the republican party, President Bush. India and the US had successfully negotiated a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement which was path-breaking and historic. American elections came and every prime minister that India ever met never took a position to what should happen in the elections. Not only endorse one party or the other and then-president Obama won the election and we carried on with our strategic engagement as effectively as we had done with president bush administration."
"Prime minister must follow the same path. We hope that his visit is successful. And he comes back with some positives because our relationship cannot be transactional as President Trump said that India will buy defence equipment. I think its much more than buying and selling. We hope that Prime Minister succeeds in persuading President Trump to restore the cards and visas for Indian it professionals, h1b visas, l1 visas, reduces the fees and also restores the GSP- the generalized system of preferences especially at a time when the Indian economy is siding and our exports are also sluggish in fact there is a contraction. This would be helpful," the Congress leader added.
Reminding you that you are in the USA as our Prime Minister and not a star campaigner in US elections.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) September 22, 2019
Following the trail of Congress, Sitaram Yechury condemned the Prime Minister of unprecedently campaigning in a foreign land. He said, "Going to a foreign country and campaigning is not acceptable. We do not allow foreign govt to campaign in India. But Modi did the same over there. There is a brazen campaign that happened. It has never happened before."
While some have argued that PM Modi merely reiterated the 2016 slogan which was used by then-Republican US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump to woo the Indian-American community. But, will the phrase 'Abki Baar Trump Sarkar' move the Indian-American community?
According to a survey conducted right after the 2016 US Presidential elections, 80% of people from the Indian-American community had voted against Donald Trump. 77% of the Indian Americans voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats have fairly captured the Indian-American community, Al Jazeera reported in 2012 that Indian-Americans back former US President Obama in a 'big way' and even in 2008 Obama was backed by 84% of Indian-Americans.