BUENA PARK, CA - The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP) hosted a meet and greet to welcome India’s Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, at the Amaya Lounge Restaurant here on July 17. The event drew a number of political bigwigs including...
Gadkari, who has been in the US for the past week wooing investors on the East Coast, began his visit to California in the Silicon Valley on July 17 morning.
The program started off without the Minister being present. This ironic situation arose as he was stuck in traffic on his way to the venue from San Francisco. Vijay Patil, emcee for the evening, had to go ahead and reorganize the schedule of events. Addressing the gathering, Congresswoman Sanchez came on stage. Welcoming all present she said “Both of our communities came to the United States in search of opportunity and were willing to work hard to achieve their goals.” Mendoza speaking to the audience said, “I came here tonight to support the cause. I take care of the issues that are important to the people. I do not show up to gain support and disappear only to reappear around election time. I am here all the time.”
Venkatesan Ashok took this time to thank Sanchez and Mendoza for their support. He went on to speak about ties between the US and India. “It is an interesting time for the relationship of India and America. We are on the verge of a new era of relationship between the two countries,” he said. Women from various local organizations who participated in the event, came on stage to do aarti, feed mithai, as well as present all three invited guests with a BJP shash.
Continuing the event, Patil gave a brief PowerPoint presentation on the overview of the OBJP. He then invited Sharmil Miller, to sing a Hindi patriotic song, “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo,” originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Patel and Miller continued to sing a few more songs to entertain the guests who were still waiting for Gadkari to arrive.
Over two hours later, the Minister finally arrived. Unfortunately due to this tardiness, the remaining parts of the program were completed in a very hurried manner. Gadkari and committee members from various organizations came together to perform the traditional lamp lighting ceremony. Priyadarshini Roy, professional actor, singer, dancer, and model, then performed the American and Indian national anthems. This was followed by a presentation on Gadkari. The video presentation depicted him as a down-to-earth person from a middle class background and his acheivements.
After this introduction, Gadkari came on stage to address the gathering in Hindi, first and foremost apologizing to all present who had patiently waited for him. He then went on to speak about the current and future road transport, highways and shipping projects of India, and how he is working to improve conditions in India.
“We have accomplished a lot but still have so much more that needs to get done,” he said.
Gadkari also mentioned that more express highways are in the works which will make it easier for individuals to travel by road in India. For example, driving from Delhi to Katra will only take five and a half hours. The hope is to have e-rickshaws, e-cars, and smart cities. “ Our aim is basically to do what hasn’t happened in the last 50 years in the next 5 years,”Gadkari said, adding that the Government of India is aspiring to change the image of India from a rich nation with poor people to a rich nation with rich people. Earlier, the reception began with a social hour and entertainment was provided by singer Nehal Patel.