Washington: Describing the next general elections as a major milestone for India, US-based senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda has urged Indian-Americans to be on their toes for the next 12 months and have courage and speak up, as he warned them that picking “a wrong road” in 2024 would be devastating for India.
Pitroda’s remarks came as he addressed a select group of Indian- Americans gathered in Chicago this week to celebrate the victory of the Congress party in the just concluded Assembly election in Karnataka.
“I want you to know that we have a long way to go. Don’t sit idle for the next at least 12 months. You’ve got to be on your toe. You’ve got to really worry about every little detail for the next election because the next election is going to be a major milestone for India,” the Indian Overseas Congress chief said.
“There are two roads to pick (in the 2024 general elections). If you pick the wrong road, you are finished. It’ll burn. India will burn, I believe. I shouldn’t say it this way, but I’m afraid. If we select the right road, we will flourish,” Pitroda said.
The event was organised by eminent community leader Ifteqar Sheriff and Indian Overseas Congress USA last week.
Former MP and Indian cricket team captain, Mohd Azharuddin was among other eminent speakers at the Chicago event.
Making a passionate case for the Congress Party and a defeat of the ruling BJP without mentioning it by name, Pitroda said unemployment and inflation are major challenges being faced by India today.
“Today unemployment is a challenge. You have serious problems with inflation, security, fear and opportunities are limited. Peace can only come when your neighbour is your brother and when everybody works together,” he said.
He said peace is not just a word.
“Without peace, there is no prosperity…You want to live in comfort, you should be able to walk anywhere, you should be able to go to any community and feel at home. When that is threatening and that’s what is happening today,” Pitroda said.
“You see the fireworks coming. I worry about India. I worry every day. And I tell you, I spend a lot of time. Whatever little I can do, I want to do it. But I’m just one little guy. We need all of you to join hands and do your bit. And don’t ask, just do it,” he said and urged the Indian-Americans to play their role in it.
“Don’t tell me what to eat. Don’t tell me who to marry. Don’t tell me what I should enjoy. I’m a part of a democracy. Democracy is being threatened everywhere,” he said.
Two years ago, Pitroda said, he wrote a book on redesigning the world. Now he is just finishing another book on Democracy at Crossroads.
“I believe democracy is at a crossroads all over the world. The US saw it with (Donald) Trump. Hungary is having a problem. Turkey is having a problem. Brazil had a problem. The UK has a problem. The EU has a problem,” he said.
“When Trump told somebody to fix my vote, there was the courageous man at the back who said I will not do it. If he didn’t have the courage, we would not be where we are. And that’s the kind of courage that is missing in India. I feel that I need to communicate to you, my friends, and my concerns,” he said.
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He said Mahatma Gandhi always talked about courage.
“I want you to be very sensitive and alert and not take this victory lightly and don’t feel that now everything is going to be very simple. It’s gonna be very difficult. You have to fight for your freedom. You have to stand up to be confident and you’ll have that courage,” he said.
“You don’t have people who will stand up and say things that need to be said because they are afraid. Because lots of people have skeletons in the closet. So, if you have skeletons in the closet, you worry that somebody will open your closet,” Pitroda said.
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