In a Madison Square-like event, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday wowed diaspora Indians in Canada with jibes at the UPA government when he pledged to clean up the “mess left behind” and change the country’s image from the one of “scams” to that of a “skilled” nation.
Accompanied by Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen, who was clad in a dark-blue sari, Modi began in Gujarati with the greeting “Khem cho (how are you)”?
“The country (India) is facing many challenges. And there is only one medicine,” he told his audience, adding that it was not him but something called “vikas (development) is the solution to all the problems of the country…. only development can take the country forward.”
Making a veiled dig at the previous government, the prime minister said, “Jinko gandagi karni thi, woh kar ke chaley gaye. Lekin hum safai karenge (Those who had to create a mess, they had done so and left, and we will clear it up).
“The nation is huge. There is a lot of mess. It has been there for long. It will take time but it (cleaning) will be done as the attitude of people has changed,” said Modi, who was wearing an yellow kurta and sporting an orange scarf.
“Earlier, the country was known as scam-India. We want it to be known as skilled-India,” he said, in yet another attack on the previous regime.
The reception hosted by Harper at the Ricoh Coliseum was attended by a huge number of Indians, who have settled in Canada for decades. The event was a replica of an address Modi made at the Madison Square in New York during his visit there last year.
Modi said the jan mann (people’s attitude) has changed over the last 10 months since he took over.
There is now an “atmosphere of trust” which was making things happen, like the voluntary participation in Clean India campaign, rich people giving up LPG subsidy and bank accounts being opened for the poor, he said.
Urging the diaspora to contribute to India’s development by sharing their expertise and experience, Modi said the people of India have enough potential but they only needed an opportunity.
He said he was asking various countries to share their expertise and technology with the aim of empowering Indians. With 65 per cent of its population below the age of 35, and if they decide to work for the progress of the country, nothing can stop the nation, Modi insisted.
The prime minister cited a Bollywood song kitna badal gaya insaan...(how much the human has changed) to make his point that the attitude of people has changed in India and they needed to be trusted to make things happen.