MPs on a Monsanto junket

NEW DELHI, Aug 23: MPs belonging to Shiv Sena and Akali Dal today flew out on a week-long trip to the US sponsored by global GM crop player Monsanto, notwithstanding the fact that BJP pulled out four of its MPs from the visit.

RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), which had raised objections to the BJP MPs being part of the Monsanto- sponsored tour has, termed the trip as one aimed at “bribing” the Parliamentarians and demanded a probe into all those MPs who have benefited from such tours in the past two decades.

“The tour amounts to bribing the MPs as the issue of allowing GM crop trials in India is under consideration of the Government of India,” Ashwani Mahajan, convener of the Manch said.

Monsanto, a world leader in developing genetically modified seeds, had invited these MPs along with three from Shiv Sena and one each from SAD and TRS to visit Iowa for the annual outdoor agricultural equipment exhibition “Farm Progress Show” in USA. The exhibition is from August 25 to 28 and the study tour is from August 24 to 30.

The BJP-led NDA Government has put field trials of 13 genetically-modified (GM) crops on hold reportedly after RSS affiliates Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) had objected to carrying out of such trials after an environment Ministry panel cleared them.

Sources said BJP had directed its MPs not to be part of any such delegation and a senior BJP leader told the MPs who were part of the delegation not to be part of it.

Another senior BJP leader, the sources add, had talked to Shiv Sena and Akali Dal leadership for not allowing their MPs to undergo the sponsored tour, but they went ahead without heeding the BJP advice.

The BJP’s who were to be part of the study tour were Siwan MP Om Parkash Yadav, Bulandshahr MP Bhola Singh, Aligarh MP Satish Gautam and Uaipur MP Arjun Lal Meena.

The Shiv Sena MPs who have left for US for the tour are Buldhana MP Prataprao Ganapatrao Jadhav, Ramtek MP Krupal Balaji Tumane and Rajan Vichare, besides Akali MP from Anandpur Sahiv Prem Singh Chandumajra.

“The MPs have left for the tour after the party allowed them permission on an individual basis,” Union Minister and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete told PTI on phone.

Mahajan of Swadeshi Manch called upon political parties to introspect and not allow their MPs to be part of such “bribery”. (PTI)


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