Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi to visit US

Trip will begin 10 days before official visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader of India's main opposition Congress party. Reuters
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India’s leading opposition political figure Rahul Gandhi will visit the US for 10 days in June.

Mr Gandhi, 52, the Indian National Congress leader and former parliamentarian, will begin on May 31 – 10 days before an official visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He will appear at a rally of about 5,000 non-resident Indians in New York’s Madison Square Garden, local media reported.

Mr Gandhi will meet politicians and entrepreneurs take part in a panel discussion in Washington and deliver a speech at Stanford University in California.

The politician's trip to UK in March led to a political row at home.

During a lecture at his alma mater Cambridge University, he said Indian democracy was “under attack” and Mr Modi's government was using spyware to snoop on the phones of opposition leaders.

The Indian government accused him of criticising the country on foreign soil and demanded an apology.

Days after his return, Mr Gandhi was disqualified as a parliamentarian after a court in Gujarat state convicted him in a defamation case over a 2019 election speech in which he referred to “many thieves” having the same surname as the Prime Minister.

He has been basking on the victory of his party in recent regional elections in the key southern state of Karnataka, where the country's ruling party suffered heavy losses.

Mr Modi will be hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at a state dinner at the White House during his visit, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He last visited the US in September 2021.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 11:44 AM