“The Prime Minister said a good thing yesterday that we should not lose heart, good days are coming soon. I don’t need to repeat it today too. You may have to wait four-six months but better days are coming,” Mr Modi said, referring to Dr Singh’s address to the same gathering on Wednesday.
The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate’s tacit reference to the national election, due by May, was not lost on his audience, who responded with laughter.
Reaching out to a global audience ahead of the key polls, Mr Modi said Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) should not be “weighed in dollars and pounds.”
“When we talk about NRIs, we think that they will bring dollars and pounds. Our Indian brothers and sisters should not be weighed in dollars and pounds. They have a different work culture, global exposure, knowledge and experience. This experience can take us in a new direction,” he said. He made several veiled attacks at the central government, saying NRIs now wanted to deal directly with state governments.
Mr Modi invoked icons like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and pitched his vision of a developed India.
“Had it not been for Sardar Patel’s foresight, we may have had to get a Pakistani visa to see Gir lions,” he said while in a glowing tribute to India’s first home minister, who was Jawaharlal Nehru’ deputy in the first government. Mr Modi urged NRIs to support his project to build a giant Sardar Patel statue in the river Narmada. The Congress has accused Mr Modi and his BJP of trying to appropriate the legacy of the iconic leader who was a lifelong Congressman.
Mr Modi also spoke about the 75th year of India’s independence in 2022, which he said was an important milestone celebrated best by enabling a “developed India that is globally admired”, with the quality life in villages and cities, driven by speed, scale, skill and smartness.