Organisers of the US delegation to India that met Gujarat Chief
Minister Narendra Modi had canvassed for participants in the trip
at prices ranging from $3,000 to $16,000, said a media report
The business delegation includes four US members of the House of
Representatives, all Republicans.
The organisers had canvassed in the Indian American community for
participants in the trip, according to a report published in Hi
India, a South Asian newspaper from Chicago.
The trip was sponsored by a political action committee (PAC), the
National Indian American Public Policy Institute (NIAPPI) founded
by Shalabh Kumar, a Chicago businessman. The politicians leading
the delegation are Marlin Stutzman, Cyntia Wiederspahn, Cathy
Rodgers and Aaron Schock.
An invitation circulated by NIAPPI in preparation for the trip
said it was "limited to (an) elite group of American
On the schedule of an extensive trip is a
stay at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, a visit to Karnataka as guest
of the state government, a visit to the Taj Mahal, the tiger
reserve at Ranthambore, a night at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, a
visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and a dinner hosted by
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. A 'Bollywood
Extravaganza' has also been included for the guests.
The cost options given in the invitation were: '7 star trip'
(business class travel, private air charter in India) $16,000 per
person, '4 star trip' (commercial travel in India with visits to
the palace excluded) $10,000 per person, and economy option-with
all travel and hotel expenses borne by the individual- $3,000 per
There also appears to be a controversy about the political action
committees under which Kumar operates, according to the newspaper
that is widely read in the South Asian community in the US
In 2012, it reported, he ran advertisements attacking Democrat
Tammy Duckworth, a respected military veteran who lost both her
legs in the Iraq war. Kumar's PAC had supported Republican Joe
Walsh, whose campaign attracted a lot of criticism for its
negativity, and who eventually lost to Duckworth. Walsh had
announced his admiration of Modi and said he would campaign to get
him a US visa, if he was elected.
Another PAC founded by Kumar, Indian Americans for Freedom (IAF),
has been reprimanded by the Federal Election Commission for
failing to properly fill out its statement of organization.
On Oct 5, 2012, as part of its election campaign, the IAF released
advertisements in several ethnic publications, supporting
Republican Joe Walsh, with the slogan "If you love (Narendra) Modi,
send Walsh back to Congress", according to Hi India.
On Aug 17, 2012, the National Indian American Coalition (NIAC),
another PAC founded by Kumar, released advertisements in Indian
publications on the occasion of India's Independence Day paying
tribute to Joe Walsh, calling him the 'maha-mitra Gujarat' and 'maha-mitra
Barely a month after the election in which Walsh lost, Kumar sent
a letter to the Federal Election Commission seeking the
termination of NIAC.