President Obama was “glad” to have met communist politicians on his trip to India, according to Indian news media accounts of the U.S. leader’s visit to the Asian nation.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted a state dinner Monday night with Obama and dozens of Indian politicians. According to media reports, the dinner consisted of 12 tables named after Americans with an Indian connection.
At the table with Obama was Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, India’s minister for external affairs.
The Times of India reports Obama asked Mukherjee about the entry of communists in India into the parliamentary system.
Mukherjee reportedly pointed out that Indian communists were part of the mainstream in the country’s political arena, like social democrats.
At the state dinner, Obama also reportedly shook hands with Sitaram Yechury, senior member of the Communist Party of India, or CPI.
According to India’s Economic Times, Obama told Yechury he was “glad” to have met an Indian communist.
Obama said he had been told that the communists have been part of the Indian political mainstream, reported the Times.
“That’s why I am here,” Yechury responded to the president.
Yechury told Obama that Indian leftists had always believed in parliamentary democracy.
While the Indian communist met with Obama, he later criticized the U.S. president to the Indian media.
Yechury told reporters that Obama’s address to Indian parliament contained “nothing tangible.”
Communist Party of India national secretary D. Raja said the U.S. president, in his address to Indian parliamentarians, was “pursuing the known U.S. positions and protecting the interests of his country.”
Indian communist leader Gurudas Dasgupta was critical of Obama for overlooking the state of “suffering and poverty in the world because of the U.S. policies.”