The Rahul Gandhi US tour powered by a brainstrust headed by Sam Pitroda will pitch tent at University of California’s famed Berkeley campus on Monday evening for a “lecture” by the Congress Vice President who is on a two week visit to America to reach out to both public intellectuals and wealthy donors as well as the Indian diaspora - which India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has done to telling effect over the last few years.
Credited with having laid the foundation for India’s telecommunications and technology revolution of the 1980s, Sam Pitroda, most recently, served as Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation, with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. This was during the Manmohan Singh years.
In a tweetstorm early morning on the US West Coast, Sam Pitroda put on show all his years of networking and goodwill on the US tech circuit, getting “50 leading Silicon Valley leaders for dinner” and “early morning breakfast with TIE leaders” as part of Rahul Gandhi's meetings.
Tech billionaire and co founder of Sun Microsystems Vinod Khosla has already been checked off the list.
Sitting MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor and former MP Milind Deora figure prominently on Rahul Gandhi’s trip where venture capital rock stars of Silicon Valley are firmly on the Congress radar.
Adressing nobody in particular, Pitroda today clarified that “RG visit was planned several months ago to get right people and platform to optimize consultation process”. Back home, BJP President Amit Shah has flagged off campaigning for the upcoming Assembly election in Gujarat and Rahul Gandhi’s dates are not yet out in the open. Rahul Gandhi has now been in politics for 13 years and the high point of his political career so far comes from almost a decade ago when the Congress, fighting alone, won 21 seats in UP in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Rahul Gandhi has travelled first to Norway en route the United States where he arrived over the weekend in the West Coast when Hurrican Irma made landfall in Florida.
Rahul Gandhi’s visit officially kicks off from America’s West Coast on the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and then moves east to New York when the UN General Assembly jamboree welcomes a parade of world leaders for its general debate.
In the week ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s visit, reports spread swiftly that he would be in the US to speak on artificial intelligence. Clearly, Rahul Gandhi’s US tour will be quite a task for the Congress Party’s social media handlers. It finally took a Sam Pitroda tweet to stem the wild stories - “I don’t know who is behind it but it seems like it has gone viral. Rahul Gandhi is not coming to talk about Artificial Intelligence”, Pitroda wrote on Twitter.
His Facebook post adds some meat to the sketchy details: “I have seen news in media that Rahul Gandhi is coming to the US to give a talk on Artificial Intelligence. This is FALSE information. I don’t know who is behind it but, it seems like it has gone viral. Rahul Gandhi is not coming to talk about Artificial Intelligence. But he is coming to meet with students and academicians and various thinking people in the US.
He will be giving a talk at University of California, Berkley and he will be also meeting with Indian Overseas Congress executive members and others. There is a major event planned in NY with the Indian Overseas Congress. Which he will be attending.”
During the second leg of his trip, Rahul Gandhi will speak at a gig organised by the Indian Overseas Congress at a 1900 seat capacity space in the Mariott Marquis hotel in Times Square on September 20, 2017.
Another post, again by Sam Pitroda, explains pretty neatly the task that's cut out for the Indian Overseas Congress:
"Overseas Indians have a lot to offer to local communities, India & the world. The opportunity to mobilize global Indian resource is interesting & exciting.
Indian democracy needs strong opposition and checks & balances with values & vision of India we believe in. Indian overseas can help in the process.
On IOC, I have spoken to many and learned that we have 18 IOC global cells that need expansion, excellence & equity with diversity, resources and restructuring.
Based on various inputs and advise, we have prepared a plan for the IOC and available at - https://goo.gl/6dvEda
Our plan is a beginning and a good start. It will evolve based on input, involvement and actions of the people participating individually and collectively.
We invite all individuals interested in public service to review the plan & join IOC local cells & /or help start new cells with commitment to help achieve IOC objectives.
We need more women, academicians, scientists, engineers, Social workers, activists, business people & other Professionals to join IOC.
We also need more young talent at IOC to collaborate, cooperate & Communicate Congress messages & values on digital media to the world.
As a next step, I plan to meet with leaders from US cells in NY in July to listen and restructure organization to meet future needs.
At the same time, I invite cell leaders in other countries to prepare & communicate their plan for the next 12 months. I also plan to meet with cells in Europe & Middle east.
I invite you to join IOC. Come help us. Here is your chance to engage, explore, experience & network to make a difference in your communities and India."
In the US East Coast, Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit the Centre for American Progress in Washington DC and travel to Princeton University before the New York leg.
I have seen news in media that Rahul Gandhi is coming to the US to give a talk on Artificial Intelligence. This is FALSE information.
— Sam Pitroda (@sampitroda) September 10, 2017
— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) September 11, 2017
— Congress (@INCIndia) September 11, 2017
Updated Date: Sep 11, 2017 22:31 PM