Huge enthusiasm as people wait from 5 a.m. to greet Modi.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: Spirits were high today amongst the Indian American community in Washington D.C. as Prime Minster Narendra Modi met a throng of supporters next to the White House after flying in from Brussels late last night.
While the primary impetus of Modi’s two-day trip to the United States lies in the 4th Nuclear Security Summit — where the leaders of more than 50 nations will discuss nuclear terrorism — Modi spent some time shaking the hands of the 250 to 300 Indian well-wishers who began congregating outside his hotel, Willard, from 5 a.m. onward.
“People coming [out] on a work day shows how much they love and care not only about Modi, but about India,” said Mukund Agashe, General Secretary of the National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA), during a conversation with The American Bazaar.
“There were people coming all the way from New Jersey and New York. … [They] were cheering for Modi … and when [he] came, he delivered,” Agashe added. “When Modi talks to the people, he connects with the people, and that’s what I like about [him].”
Kirit Udeshi, the event’s primary organizer, was impressed by the eclectic conglomeration of Indian and Indian American society who were present to welcome Modi back to the United States.
“There were folks from Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh — nearly every Indian state was represented. There were [also] many Sikhs, Telugus, and people from Kerala there,” he informed The American Bazaar.
“There is wide support [for Modi] across all communities, and it is very important that the prime minister was welcomed by a complete representation of India and not just [one regional pocket],” Udeshi continued.
One member of the crowd reiterated the overarching sense of optimism that permeated Modi’s magnanimous meet-and-greet session.
“I see a positive in the fact that there were so many people there,” mused Chandu Tadikonda, who arrived early in the morning and patiently awaited his chance to shake the prime minister’s hand. “It’s all because of the type of inspiration that [Modi] is providing.”
Next on the prime minister’s agenda is dinner at the White House come Thursday night.
The formal repast — which is hosted by President Barack Obama — will be attended by other international heads of state and serve as a catalyst for the impending Nuclear Security Summit.
(This post was updated with correction on March 31, 2016.)