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Modi to speak to US supporters

india Updated: Jan 26, 2008 02:44 IST

Circumventing the American visa refusal to him, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak 'live' to his supporters in the US on February 1.

Modi will address an invited audience of over 1,000, mainly Gujaratis, in Fords, New Jersey. His speech of over half an hour will be beamed from Gandhinagar via satellite on to a huge screen in a banquet hall.

The innovative programme has been organised by the New York-New Jersey chapters of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) to celebrate the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) poll victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh last month.

The programme includes a presentation on the progress made by Gujarat under Modi, according to Rajesh Shukla, event coordinator and member of the OFBJP advisory board.

Shukla castigated the US administration for refusing a visa to Modi in 2005, "elected leader of a big Indian state, while tin pot dictators and murderers are welcomed."

"It is for Gujarat and Gujaratis to decide what is good or bad for them," Shukla told IANS.

He claimed almost 90 per cent of the Gujaratis in the US and a majority of NRIs support Modi. NRI groups in US did drum up support for Modi's return to power in December.

"Even anti-BJP people recognise Modi's administrative capability and integrity," Shukla said.

Among the Indian Americans listed to attend the New Jersey event are prominent community leaders such as Navin Mehta, chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the US, Sudhir Parikh, allergy specialist and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardee 2006, and HR Shah, president of the Society of Engineers and Architects.