'Howdy, Modi' in Houston: 'What a proud day for Texas, US, and India'; Twitter goes gaga but critics term event 'singular disservice', 'absurd'

  • 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'

  • 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 PM'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

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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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.

 

 

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Updated Date: Sep 23, 2019 14:05:04 IST


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