US Congressmen heap praise on Modi leadership

CM Modi meets and greets  individually members of the  US Congress team
CM Modi meets and greets individually members of the US Congress team

AHMEDABAD: The controversy surrounding the visit of a high powered US Congressional and Business delegation to Gujarat notwithstanding, the move has paved the way for better understanding of the state of affairs in Gujarat while shoring up the mage of popular Gujarat leader Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Impressed by sincerity of purpose and leadership quality of Modi, the US Congressional members extended an invitation to CM Modi to visit United States and assured that they would take up the issue of Modi’s Visa with the State Department very earnestly.
It is alleged that at the behest of some powerful political bigwigs within India and a pull from certain interest groups in and outside India, the US State Department had decided to refuse Visa to CM Modi for attending a business meet in USA five years ago. The concerned authorities have stuck with this decision in the wake of continued pressure and pull from the same sources, it is believed.
To the credit of CM Modi, he has never actively pursued or exercised any pressure for getting the Visa decision reversed and it was on its own volition that the delegation members chose to extend an invitation to come to USA.
The US Congress delegation comprises: Representative Aaron Schock (a Republican Congressmen from Illinois), Representative Cynthia Lummis (a Republican Congresswoman representing Wyoming), and Representative Cathy M. Rodgers (Republican Congresswoman from Washington state). Representative Rodgers also serves as the Chair of the House Republican Conference.
Among the top businessmen, Shalabh Kumar is a top industrialist in Illinois. One of the prime objectives of the US delegation visiting India is to promote people to people contacts and diplomacy. The delegation was highly impressed with the progress and development of Gujarat under the leadership of Narendra Modi
It was the highest level US delegation to meet Modi since the riots, an official in Modi’s office said. The United States has maintained links with his administration at a consular level. US companies such as Ford Motor Co have major operations in Gujarat.
Schock, an Illinois Congressman, told a news conference that American business leaders had encouraged him to visit Gujarat “because unlike other places in India, our investment is welcome”.
“My colleagues and I were thoroughly impressed with our meeting with Modi and I will tell you that he is a very dynamic person and he has a pretty impressive track record here in the state of Gujarat.
“We extended an invitation to the Chief Minister to come to the United States and share with our colleagues some of what he’s done here in the state.”
McMorris-Rodgers, who is from Washington State and is the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said US lawmakers would work with the Obama administration to ease the travel curbs on Modi.
In formal and informal talks with the people and the media, the delegates felt convinced that CM Modi has brought a change in people’s lives. US Rep Rodgers observed that workers are valued here. “Looking forward, we need to prod how we can work together,” he said. US Rep Lummis commented that it was a desirable place to live in because Gujarat has adopted a fast, inclusive and environment friendly process of development
Welcoming the USA delegation in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, CM Narendra Modi spoke about the fast, inclusive and environment friendly process of development in Gujarat and stated that people’s participation is the key to the state’s development model. “With hard work we have been able to create an impact in the country,” he stated.
The Chief Minister called for the strengthening of democratic processes keeping in mind the larger good of the people. “Mahatma Gandhi has been and is the biggest lighthouse in this journey. Gujarat, being the land of Mahatma Gandhi believes in these principles and has been at the forefront of nurturing such ideals and leading its people on the path of growth,” he opined. He said that USA is the oldest democracy of the world and India the largest and that both nations should remain committed to these principles.
He affirmed, “Our democratic ideals flow from ideals of humanity and in today’s world, the challenges before us compel us to work together even more seriously to strengthen democratic principles.” Modi had a one to one meeting with the three Congress Representatives as well.
US Rep Schock pointed out that the people in USA are keen to work with Gujarat and that the people are impressed with how the state has facilitated investment. He stated there is enormous potential to work together with Gujarat. While congratulating Modi for his victory in the last election, he had opined that Modi ran on the platform of economic prosperity for all and was elected by people cutting across every religion, education and class of society.
US Rep Lummis said that people want to come to Gujarat due to the state’s work culture that has been nurtured under the leadership of Modi. She added that workers are valued here and it is a desirable place to live due to Shri Modi’s leadership qualities.
During the interaction, senior officials of the Gujarat Government also made presentations. Secretary to CM, AK Sharma gave a presentation on the investment opportunities in Gujarat, the DMIC, Dholera SIR. Chief Secretary Varesh Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary to CM K Kailashnathan, Additional Principal Secretary to CM GC Murmu and Energy Secretary DJ Pandian were present during the meeting.
The delegation is visiting India to promote ‘People to People Contacts & Diplomacy’ along with the Overseas Friends of BJP’s (OFBJP) ‘Global Community Over Reach Program.’ This is a joint initiative by USA based National Indian-American Public Policy Institute and India based Delhi Study Group.
The 18-member delegation, led by Schock, visited Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram before the over-an-hour-long closed-door meeting with Modi and top state officials.
In addition to Gujarat, the visiting delegation planned visiting Bangalore, Tirupati, New Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur and Amritsar.
Vijay Jolly, Shalabh Kumar and Bhaillal Patel are also part of the delegation.

Ruchit Shah

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