Cutting across their affiliations, Gujaratis in Canada on Sunday welcomed the victory of Narendra Modi in the Gujarat Assembly elections. They said his victory was a foregone conclusion, and that those who called him a communalist must now "shut up and not hurt the people of Gujarat".
Terming Modi the modern-day angel, Mukul Desai, director of the Anavil (Brahmin) Samaj of Canada, told IANS, "The people of Gujarat didn't commit the mistake that the people of India made when they rejected Vajpayee. India suffered by rejecting Vajpayee, but Gujarati didn't want to suffer. So they have elected Modi as CM for the third time. They have voted for an angel."
He said, "Modi is the only (right) person for the top job in Gujarat. The state will now be the envy of India. It will achieve what India will never be able to achieve. He is an angel sent by God to steer Gujarat on to the path of greatness."
Ridiculing those who call Modi a communalist, Desai said, "It was a myth perpetuated by the media. But the people of Gujarat have shown who Modi is. He is not anti-Muslim. The US will now realize its mistake of not granting him a visa last year. They will now ask him to come visit the US."
Equally strident in his support for Modi was Anil Shah who has served on the board of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).
"Modi's victory is the best thing to happen to Gujarat from the viewpoint of development," Shah told IANS.
"That he is not communalist and doing something very positive has come out aloud in the election results. Don't believe those who say negative things (like Godhra) about him," he said.
Criticising the US for not giving him a visa, Shah said, "It was one of the worst mistakes they have made. I guess Canada is following the same policy."
Asked whether Canada has ever hinted at denying him a visa, he said, "No, no. But it is an unwritten rule in Canada that whatever the US does they follow it. These people must realize that 37 per cent of all Indian exports come from Gujarat. Canadians have failed to recognize the potential of Gujarat for them."
Hitting out at Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for not visiting Gujarat during his January trip to India, Shah said, "I just cannot understand why he omitted Gujarat from his itinerary, considering that it is the most industrialized state in India. Canada can reap huge benefits by engaging Gujarat.but someone told the premier that Modi is communal and he didn't go there. Please respect the people of Gujarat. They know who is what."
Hasit Shah, a Toronto-based engineer, added, "Modi has raised Gujarati pride. Who cares if the US has denied him a visa? America is not the last place on this planet. We welcome his victory. This man stands out."
Montreal-based Jinni Desai, president of the Gujarati Samaj, was crisp in her response when she said, "Yes, we all hail Modi's victory. It is a matter of pride for Gujaratis wherever they are."