Photo Credit: IANS
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s United States visit that began on Sept. 11, is packed with events centered around the Indian diaspora. The itinerary is being widely seen as an attempt by Gandhi to build a persona like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s. During the two-week trip, the Congress politician will address Indian-Americans at various venues, besides interacting with global thinkers and leaders.
Effort to Revive Congress
Gandhi’s visit began with an address at the University of California, Berkeley, on Sept. 11 on the topic, ‘India at 70 — Reflections on the Path forward’. University of California, Berkeley, is a place quite close to his heart as his great-grandfather, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, delivered a speech at the same venue in 1949.
Ahead of the visit, Gandhi had posted on his official Twitter handle that he was looking forward to interacting with Indian Overseas Congress members and tehnocrat Sam Pitroda. He is also expected to meet academics and researchers, and discuss emerging technologies. Gandhi will also attend a meeting at the Princeton University.
“The purpose of the visit is two-fold,” Pitroda, who worked as an important adviser to Gandhi’s father, former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi, told PTI. “One is to meet interesting and global thinkers, to have a conversation on what is happening world over on economy, on technology, on opportunities, and really understand different views from experts on the global scene.”
Pitroda is the one handling the preparations of Gandhi’s visit. The 75-year-old engineer had, during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi, executed various plans that revolutionized the Indian telecom industry.
Pitroda revealed that Gandhi will meet overseas Indians at an event in New York to connect people with the Congress party. He added that the Congress vice president will also interact with some members of the ruling Republic Party in Washington DC. Gandhi would also hold meetings with Indian technical professionals at Silicon Valley. “So, the idea is if you were to meet a lot of Silicon Valley people, it is better to talk about things in San Francisco,” Pitroda was quoted as saying.
Among the events the Congress leader is likely to attend is one organized by the Centre for American Progress. He is also expected to meet members of the business community at a session held by the US-India Business Council.
Gandhi has visited the US several times in the past, but this is for the first time that he is holding public meetings and delivering speeches in the country.
Rahul Gandhi Courts Controversy Once More
The foreign tours of Rahul Gandhi are known for attracting controversies, and this time too, things are no different. Gandhi was expected to stay in Gujarat for at least a week, ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections. But he left for Norway a week back, and is now in the United States. In the meantime, BJP national president Amit Shah has kicked off the party’s campaign in Gujarat.
Gandhi’s US visit also attracted online trolls after the news surfaced that he will hold discussions on artificial intelligence. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy took to his Twitter handle and posted: “Buddhu who is bereft human intelligence was to get artificial intelligence. No so says out-on -Bail Sam. Jindal funded outfit will host him.”
Buddhu who is bereft human intelligence was to get artificial intelligence. No so says out-on -Bail Sam. Jindal funded outfit will host him.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 10, 2017
Pitroda soon clarified that the news on Gandhi’s talk on artificial intelligence is false information.
Gandhi’s US visit is also being talked about as a fund-raising exercise. The party is now looking for international contributors to tackle the cash crunch it faces, News 18 reported.