The US embassy on Tuesday cleared the visa for BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain after a delay due to "procedural" issues. US embassy sources said the visa was issued this morning after all the procedures were completed.
They denied media reports that the visa was issued following intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "There was no such intervention," the sources said, adding the visa was issued in the normal course.
Hussain, a former union minister, said he had got the visa and he would leave for the US tonight to join the five-member Parliamentary delegation in New York to attend a UN conference.
He said he had not been denied the visa which had been delayed due to "administrative process".
"I met party leader L K Advani this morning to explain him about the development. Advaniji called up the Prime Minister, who assured him to look into the matter," Hussain told reporters.
To a question whether he was upset by the development, Hussain said though there was no bitterness with regard to the delay, it was unfortunate that a three-time MP could not attend the session in time.
The MP said that "while India welcomes all foreigners on the principles of 'Atithi Devo Bhava' (treating a guest as god) other countries should take a lesson from us".
He also said that the issue should be taken up by the government at the diplomatic level with the US. The government should ask the US the reason behind the delay in granting him the visa, he said.
Hussain said the Ministry of External Affairs had applied for the visas. Girja Vyas, Sanjay Nirupam (both Congress), Ali Anwar (JD-U) and T K S Elangovan (DMK) were the other members of the delegation of MPs going to New York. Hussain has visited the US thrice in the past. The last visit was post-9/11 when he went there as the Union Textile Minister. PTI