CHICAGO: Lambasting endemic corruption prevalent at all levels of government and the resultant loss of trust in the government, a rising star in Indian politics Narendra Modi has pitched for a change in the government, and its style of functioning at the Center.
Modi was addressing NRIs in 20 major cities in USA through a video conference on May 12, which incidentally coincided with the celebration of Mother’s Day across the country. The video conference organized by a group of NRIs headed by Dr Bharat Barai, Kantibhai Patel, Mafat Patel, Naren Patel and others, was held at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows (a north side Chicago suburb) and by all standard was a huge success attended as it was by over 1000 non-resident Indians representing all walks of life and all parts of India.
There was also another facility in Chicagoland – Haveli in Addison – where 400 plus Modi admirers gathered to listen to this great Indian leader. It was also interesting to see the presence of Indian students from several US universities, like UIC, U of C and other educational institutions across Illinois, who had gathered to watch Modi’s live address. This was the case at other centers also, as our Washington correspondent adds, like students of University of Maryland who came to hear Modi talking on India and Gujarat.
The Gujarat CM, a strong candidate for the post of a future Indian Prime Minister, was in his elements despite suffering from a bout of cold and flu mincing no words in pointing out the weakness of Indian leaders in handling foreign affairs or mentoring economic and trade policies.
Asserting that he has given a new meaning to “development” during his 12-year rule in Gujarat, Modi said the greatest challenge facing India is restoring the “trust” of the people. “I strongly believe that the biggest challenge we are facing is absence of confidence. No one trusts anyone. The country has lost confidence in every institution which we have been relying upon,” he said, and pointed out that the root cause is endemic corruption.
Narrating several corruption related cases, he asserted that “this is the first time we have seen the worst form of corruption anywhere in the world, which we are observing in the country. And nobody at the top seems to be worried at all. What a pitiful situation. They have not left even coal. Our house is set on fire by of our own lamp (Ghar ko aag lag gai ghar ke hi chirag se). Our own people are bent upon destroying us.”
Acts, policies, behaviors of people who are sitting in power have caused 120 crore people losing their confidence and this lack of trust proliferates at different and unexpected directions with people taking wrong paths, to survive, to live. Law and order situation has worsened. Women do not feel safe. “Every daughter and every sister in the country should trust man,” he said, eulogizing their role, especially the mother, on Mother’s Day.
Touching upon the mishandling of foreign affairs, Modi said the country is being ruled by weaklings. Against the backdrop of China’s incursion in eastern Ladakh last month, Modi observed, “I know what damage it can cause when rulers of a country are weak. You should look at the incidents of past one month. I am shocked to see, that China withdraws its forces to its territories but I don’t understand that why Indian army is pulling back its forces from Indian soil?”
Going further, Modi said, “Can you imagine our soldiers getting beheaded? And after some days External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hosts a lunch in Jaipur in honor of former Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, offering him chicken biryani here. This raises lot of questions in the mind of common man.”
Citing yet another case of inept handling of foreign policy, Modi said it is unbelievable that India’s Foreign Minister is seen reading the speech of his counterpart from another country.
“Have you ever come across an instance where a Foreign Minister of our country, while addressing an international forum, takes some other country’s papers and starts reading? What grave insult it can cause to our country,” Modi said in reference to former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna reading out the speech of his Portuguese counterpart at the UNGA in 2011.
In sharp contrast to the developments in the country, Modi claimed his model of including all in the social and economic development of the State has paid rich dividends and that it has taken Gujarat to new heights.
“We have adopted the mantra of Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas (inclusion of everyone, development for everyone). We do not want development of only select sections of society,” he said, and congratulated non-resident Indians and non resident Gujaratis in helping his State notching hefty progress in the past decade.
Sharing other instances of Gujarat’s development, Modi pointed out how 24-hour electricity brought about a big difference in the lives of the people. On malnutrition, he said that for the past eight years Gujarat has made Herculean efforts to eradicate malnutrition. And the latest CAG report lauds the Gujarat model. The largest canal network for Narmada waters has come up in Gujarat during the last ten years. Likewise, 18,000 villages have broadband connectivity in Gujarat. “If you want to see the truth about Gujarat, see the number of Awards the Congress-ruled UPA has given to Gujarat,” he said.
Ridiculing anti-Gujarat and anti Modi tirades by interested quarters, he asked “Was it Narendra Modi who invented kites? Kites were there earlier too but the kites now draw the world to Gujarat Gir lions were there before Modi, but the Gir has blossomed into a tourist attraction now. Gujarat had a coastline before Modi. Yes but was it put to use for any development? Today 35% of the nation’s cargo is from Gujarat. We have 41 major and minor ports now. We added new life in the Kutch desert. Modi did not paint the Rann white. It was there. Only that people come here today and it has given impetus to handicrafts industry also.”
Earlier in his speech, he talked about Mother and Motherland, and pitched for nurturing Prithvi (the mother earth) from getting degraded by environmental predators. He said that “we are the people who inherited the Sanskrit Mantra ‘mata bhumi, putroaham prithivyam’ which means, ‘Bhumi is my Mata, I am a child of Prithvi.” Our this culture and thought that considers the Earth as a manifestation of the Mother that has given us immense strength
The event at Meadows Club started at 5-30 pm with dinner followed by slide presentations on Gujarat. Dr Bharat Barai, a front ranking community leader and Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient, acknowledged sponsors who helped the successful culmination of this event while Kanti Patel, a community leader and one of the organizers, introduced community leaders one by one and invited them on dais for a photo session.
Naren Patel of Vishwa Gujarati Samaj touched upon Modi’s achievements while Hetal Patel, a former president of FIA, along with Beena Patel and Bharti Desai emceed the event admirably.
India Post News Service