Narendra Modi taking over as India’s prime minister was described as similar to the ‘1979 Margaret Thatcher moment’ in Britain, as leading Indian-origin politicians, businessmen and others joined a large gathering on Saturday to celebrate BJP’s victory.
Thatcher became the prime minister in 1979 after the ‘winter of discontent’ — a national mood of gloom and doom following a spate of nationwide strikes. It was a moment that needed a strong leader to deal with Britain’s challenges at the time.
Dolar Popat, a Conservative member of the House of Lords, said this was ‘India’s 1979 moment’, when the country needed a strong leader like Modi.
The event in Harrow reflected the power and influence wielded by Britain’s Gujarati community, most of whose leading members lobbied successfully with the British government to end its decade-long boycott of Modi after the 2002 riots and ‘re-engage’ with him from October 2012.
The event organised by the Overseas Friends of BJP was attended by many politicians, while London-based solicitor Manoj Ladwa, who headed Modi’s communications team in Delhi, narrated details about the campaign.
“We studied the Barack Obama and Tony Blair campaigns, but this was a Modi campaign and it will be seen as a benchmark in political communication,” Ladwa said.
Lord Popat’s mention of Modi receiving a bad press in Britain during the elections evoked shouts of ‘shame, shame’.
Ministers in the David Cameron government present at the event included Shailesh Vara (Justice) and Baroness Verma (Energy and Climate Change).