As reported by Times of India, the Conservative Friends of India, a group affiliated to the ruling Conservative Party led by Theresa May, have rescinded their invitation to the Congress President Rahul Gandhi for an event in the British Parliament. The event which was scheduled to take place during Rahul Gandhi’s visit between 24-25 August to the UK has now been officially cancelled.
As per reports, co-chairman of Conservative Friends of India Dr. Rami Ranger had sent out invites for the event which was scheduled to take place on 24th August at Portcullis House, the building that houses the offices of the British MPs. Many prominent businessmen and UK politicians had also been sent invites advertising Rahul’s presence at the event. However, on Thursday it was learned that the event had been canceled.
The longest-serving British Indian MP Keith Vaz has now come forward and sponsored a room somewhere else in the Parliament and Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) has taken over running the event. Their UK spokesperson Gurminder Randhawa confirmed that the Conservative Friends of India have dropped out from hosting the event and IOC has taken over the task of hosting the event. IOC has also blamed the BJP for cancellation of the event. However, Conservative Friends of India has maintained that the group was finding it hard to arrange for a room in Portcullis room as the UK parliament is in recess and the uncertainty about the availability of the venue that has forced the organization to cancel the event.
During his visit to the, Gandhi is expected to meet Indian diaspora, politicians and business leaders. Last year, during Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the US, the media had reported that he would be talking on ‘Artificial Intelligence’, later refuted by Sam Pitroda, while attending an Overseas Congress event in the US.
Update: Sam Pitroda, an aide of Rajiv Gandhi who is now helping Rahul Gandhi, has claimed that Times of India report was misleading. He has claimed that the event has not been cancelled. In a series of tweets, Pitroda has given details of the Rahul Gandhi’s visit to UK that include many interactions. However, as per the information shared by Pitroda, the venue of the major event is not the Parliament and the event is not being hosted by Conservative Friends of India, which is how it was reported to be according to the Times of India. It is not clear if the organisers were changed after the original plan got cancelled or if the original plan was always the same as Pitroda has tweeted now.