Secularism means India first, says Modi

Gujarat CM addresses Indian diaspora in the US
Last Updated 10 March 2013, 21:15 IST

Close on the heels of the cancellation of his keynote address at Wharton, Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the Indian diaspora in the US through video conferencing.

The Gujarat chief minister went all out to sell the international audience “Brand Gujarat”, and what he claimed was his definition of secularism.

“For me secularism means nothing but India first. My country is my priority,” Modi announced while addressing the Indian diaspora in Edison, New Jersey, Chicago and Illinois, in an event organised by the BJP affiliated organisation “Overseas Friends of the BJP in the US”. The event was organised in response to the snub by Wharton. Sensing a global audience, Modi invoked mythology, claiming that Lord Shiva had taught how to “drink poison and digest it too.”

“We may have flaws, shortcomings, but we have achieved growth through development and have not indulged in divisive politics,” he said.

Claiming the victory in Gujarat as people’s victory, Modi remarked : “It’s a win for my mantra of development. Development is the mantra that will rid us of all our problems. Development will take our country forward.”

Invoking the legacy of Swami Vivekananda, Modi said: “Can all of us pledge to take India to the first position in the world? Something that Swami Vivekananda wanted. We can and we will. Everything that the world has, we have too. We lack nothing.”

Taking a dig at the UPA government’s 2013-14 Budget, Modi said Gujarat was more focussed in its approach: “We have been working on skill development in Gujarat. We are completely committed to it. The Union Budget has allocated 1,000 crore for skill development and a small state like Gujarat has allocated 800 crore. One can

(Published 10 March 2013, 04:50 IST)

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