Monday, 23 Sep, 10.12 am National Herald

At 'Howdy, Modi,' praises flow for Nehru, Gandhi

Nehru and Gandhi's ghosts continued to stalk the BJP at the much-hyped 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston as senior US lawmaker Steny Hoyer praised Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in his speech.

"India, like America, is proud of its ancient traditions to secure a future according to Gandhi's teaching and Nehru's vision of India as a secular democracy where respect for pluralism and human rights safeguard every individual," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in front of nearly 50,000 people packed in the stadium.

The senior Democrat leader quoted Mahatma Gandhi to define democracy as "something that gives the weak, the same chance as the strong." Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintained a stoic, non-plussed face as the words were spoken.

India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, has been frequently targeted by the BJP. Hours before PM Modi's event in Houston, Nehru was blamed by none othet than Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the formation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

"It was Nehru's untimely ceasefire declared in 1947 that led to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution and eventually led to terrorism in the Valley," he said in Mumbai.

In Houston, Hoyer said, "As we welcome Prime Minister Modi to Texas, we are inspired by the modern India he leads while mindful of the challenges it faces. Undeterred as it reaches into the new frontier of space, and equally determined to lift millions out of poverty back on Earth. Making strides in access education, clean water, healthcare and while helping to develop advanced energy technologies for a greener and healthy India."

"I am proud that the US-India relationship has remained bipartisan with both Democrats and Republicans working to bring the two nations closer in pursuit of that goal and our common principles. In recent decades President Clinton had the vision to forge a new path for US-India relations. President Bush strengthened the ties between our two nations and President Obama solidified them. And President Trump continues that today," he added.

Thousands protested against Modi and the BJP-RSS outside the venue.

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