The 'Howdy, Modi' gathering in Houston that saw a footfall of over 50,000 people has been received with mixed reactions, from supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US president Donald Trump calling it the "event of the century" to Opposition leaders and activists attempting to draw attention to Modi's endorsement of Trump's 2020 presidential campaign and the protests against the abrogation of Article 370.
At the event for the Indian diaspora in the Texas capital, Modi hit out at Pakistan for its support to terrorism and said India's decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their country as he called for a "decisive battle" against terrorism.
The USA Loves India! https://t.co/xlfnWafxpg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2019
Home Minister Amit Shah lauded Modi and said that under his leadership, the "entire world stands firmly with India against its decisive fight against the menace of terrorism". He added, "Message to the world is loud and clear that this new India will leave no stone unturned to keep our country safe and united."
External Affairs minister S Jaishankar referred to Modi's Madison Square Garden speech, his first US address after becoming the prime minister in 2014, which was also attended by a large number of people. "A great day in Houston with 'Howdy, Modi'. Raising the Madison Square Garden tradition to new levels."
A great day in Houston with #HowdyModi
Raising the Madison Square Garden tradition to new levels.
Sincerest appreciation for the enormous effort of countless voluteeers. Thank you Team TIF, Team @IndianEmbassyUS & @cgihoupic.twitter.com/mE27y3eCZq
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 22, 2019
Republican senator for Houston, Pete Olson said that the event had displayed "unbreakable bonds" with pictures of Modi and Trump "hand-in-hand" during their lap of the NRG Stadium in the city.
#HowdyModi ended w/ the strongest display of unbreakable bonds between 2 nations I’ve ever seen. President Trump & Prime Minister Modi walking hand-in-hand around @NRG. America & India will be the driving force for global peace & freedom in 21st Century! @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/bMYB5mcreZ
— Rep. Pete Olson (@RepPeteOlson) September 22, 2019
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 22, 2019
Just got back from NRG Stadium. Every bone in my body hurts and brain refuses to work but what a week this has been culminating in event of the century #HowdyModi. What the world witnessed today was once in a lifetime event. This will be impossible to recreate again.
— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) September 22, 2019
Clasping hands with Trump, Modi also made a strong pitch for the US president's re-election, saying "Abki baar, Trump sarkar", which is a modification of his own 2014 slogan.
The prime minister's move was criticised by Congress leader Anand Sharma, who said that Modi had "violated the time-honoured principle of Indian foreign policy of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country".
"Reminding" Modi that he is "not a star campaigner" for Trump, Sharma said, "This is a singular disservice to the long-term strategic interests of India."
Our relationship with the United States of America have throughout been bipartisan, vis-à-vis Republicans and Democrats. Your actively campaigning for Trump is a breach of both India and America as sovereign nations and democracies.
— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) September 22, 2019
"Next Administration is Trump Administration"-Modi openly campaigning for Trump on American soil- Dangerous for India's national interest as Trump is likely to lose in 2020. Poll of Polls this week puts Trump's approval rating is 42.4% while 53.6% American voters disapprove him. https://t.co/3ABWqknPPj
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) September 22, 2019
Without reforms across the board the Corporate Tax Cuts alone are meaningless, they will not lead to corporate expansion or foreign investors but instead further increase our fiscal deficit & revenue gap. #HowdyMandi pic.twitter.com/FXKX0FAxvZ
— Congress (@INCIndia) September 22, 2019
However, many hailed Modi bringing India to the "global stage" and changing its perception to be counted in the "top of the league of nations" today. Some also praised Modi for his "decisive" stand against terrorism.
“President @realDonaldTrump received the endorsement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they shared a stage in Houston, walking hand in hand... to address more than 50,000 Indian Americans”‼️https://t.co/3COrvLIpO0
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) September 22, 2019
India through @narendramodi has achieved an unprecedented foreign policy success through Europe and the Middle East recently and now with the United States. Modi has received accolades from UAE and France to USA.
— Dr David Frawley (@davidfrawleyved) September 23, 2019
This shot of the crowd from today from the Trump/Modi rally is really something pic.twitter.com/UvfZJmGEhB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 23, 2019
#HowdyModi event ended with display of strongest bond between world’s largest democracies.
No longer a pushover, India's image in the global stage has totally changed and counted today in the top of the league of nations.
Thanks PM Modi for making it possible... pic.twitter.com/KgdqXH7JkO
— Pema Khandu (@PemaKhanduBJP) September 23, 2019
After ages we are truly friends with the USA. Great to be close to the most affluent, powerful and creative country in the world. Stand next to winners, and you will be a winner one day. Stand next to losers, and you will get no where. #howdyModi
— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) September 23, 2019
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) September 23, 2019
'Radical Islamic terrorism' is not restricted to #Pakistan, though that country is possibly the biggest investor (in terms of human capital) in this murderous project. PM Modi drove home this point when he reminded #US that 9/11 and 26/11 had common points of origin. #HowdyModi https://t.co/qtfN6TBNl9
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) September 23, 2019
Powerful medley of Vaishnava Jan and Amazing Grace as photos of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Play out in the background. pic.twitter.com/Ygd9li9cel
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) September 22, 2019
— David Vance (@DVATW) September 22, 2019
Most activists and journalists called for attention to the protests that took place outside the venue of 'Howdy, Modi', with people protesting against India's decision to abrogate Article 370 in the now-Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The contentious move was followed by "preventive measures" like a communications blackout and restrictions on public movement, which, in some parts of the Kashmir Valley, are still imposed, almost two months since they were brought in on 4 August.
Modi, in his speech at the event, said, "Article 370 encouraged terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir," asserting that its nullification will allow development and prosperity in the region and end discrimination against women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Amidst applause, Modi said both the Houses of the parliament passed this with two-thirds of the majority. He also sought standing ovation for the members of the Parliament who helped in making necessary constitutional changes on Jammu and Kashmir.
Thousands of people protest Indian PM Modi’s visit to Houston.pic.twitter.com/PwTE80WZY3
— Alfons López Tena #FBPE (@alfonslopeztena) September 22, 2019
Indian media is doing what they always do.
Through fake news, propaganda & censorship they’re trying to diminish the protests across the US. But they can’t mask the truth: we showed up today & we’ll do it again. Modi will be held accountable for his atrocities. #AdiosModi — Arjun Sethi (@arjunsethi81) September 22, 2019
In Houston, @narendramodi Modi said “everything in fine” in various Indian languges. Mercifully he did not try and say it in Kashmiri.
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) September 22, 2019
I can’t stop thinking about Indian Americans applauding when Modi referenced Article 370.
What kind of human gets excited about humans being stripped of the their citizenship, placed under occupation and forced to live in concentration camps. #HowdyModi — Achmat X (@AchmatX) September 23, 2019
Modi ji gets a backhanded compliment at Houston where House Majority leader lists out 5 things that RSS hates the most:
I am getting an avalanche of hate for tweeting historical facts related to #HowdyModi, (e.g., the US banned Modi for a decade, an RSS man murdered Gandhi).
Modi salvaged a badly put together & poorly executed event. That’s a fact. I don’t know how it played on TV, in live it was shoddy to say the least. The pause may have been due to Trump getting delayed but rest of the programming was substandard. Not a reflection on volunteers
— Ram (@ramprasad_c) September 23, 2019
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Updated Date: Sep 23, 2019 14:05:04 IST