Indian Overseas Congress woos NRIs

By Vijay Badhwar

Sam Pitroda is their leader and star attraction. He has tech appeal to woo the professional Sydney Indian community. It’s his first visit Down Under.

At Homebush Bay’s Novotel Hotel on a Thusday evening, the numbers are small, at least in comparison to BJP friends’ events with their star casts. The Indian National Congress’ national president, Australia, Manoj Sheoran, has worked hard to organise the event.

Both sides of politics in India have realised the value of overseas Indians, a major resource of 30-40 million mostly highly educated professionals, especially as is the case in Australia. They yearn for cleaner politics in their home country and there is not a better ambassador in Congress than Sam Pitroda to represent that.

His credentials are par excellence, along with a dream NRI story ”“ coming from a poor family and becoming a scientist, going to US for higher studies and attaining an engineering PhD, lots of patents to his name and millions to boot, choosing to serve Mother India as an advisor to a Prime Minister and father of the Telecom revolution in India. All that with a clean image. Most overseas Indians will relate to aspiring such tall ambition.

During his time with the Congress and later during the Manmohan Singh regime the party had initiated some futuristic programmes such as the ‘multi-purpose national Identity Card’ (Aadhar Card) and ‘National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ (Mgnrega). The Bharatiya Janata Party now claims credit for these programmes as the implementation then had lacked the gusto now created by PM Modi.

As the Modi wave drowns all the opposition in its wake, some Opposition political thinkers now find a ray of hope in exploiting the message of intolerance and disharmony spread by some extreme elements among the Hindu populace. With the national election around the corner next year, now is the time to initiate the salvaging act.

Sam Pitroda, in the Q&A session, could not satisfactorily respond to the oft-repeated enquiry about the continuing dynastic rule (when Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is utterly wanting). His answer languished in the web of party choice: that he would lose if he stood for Congress leadership.

But he put the argument for inclusiveness vehemently: “Building a nation is different to building a company. It is most important (to understand) that you cannot hold India together with guns.

“Congress party is most concerned about inclusiveness, a democratic framework ”“ not only development but also upliftment.

“India is a complex country; our fundamental problem is disparity; how to create employment for our young people and feed them. Our forefathers rooted the idea that India was for everyone.

“It’s the slow pace of development that is worrying.  There is much scope for investing in tech revolution comprising atomic energy, agriculture, space, milk revolution and space,” Sam Pitroda said.

He toed the Trump line on fake news. “What gets attention is lies. Congress lost the elections because of lots of lies,” Sam Pitroda said.






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