Chairman of the overseas wing of the Congress Sam Pitroda said Saturday that Indians living outside the country are more concerned about their traditions, and this "connects" them to the BJP. The technocrat-turned-politician was speaking to reporters at the Mumbai Press Club here.
"You have a whole new generation in USA that get paid millions of dollars in salary. When I went to Chicago, there were 500 people of Indian-origin and today this number has gone up to three hundred thousand," he said. "There was no temple in 1965 and today you can find 30 temples in Chicago. What do these people do there? They pray and (perform) havan and puja. They are more concerned about preserving their traditions and that connects them to the BJP and (prime minister Narendra) Modi," he opined.
Pitroda, who was part of the Congress' manifesto committee for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, claimed that fulfilling the promises made in the document was feasible. Saying that it was drafted after enough consultations and homework, he added that it could be fulfilled just as "we achieved (implementation of) NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme". On the flak he faced for seeking more information about the Balakot air-strike conducted by the Indian Air Force, Pitroda said the statement was made in his personal capacity, and therefore it would not hurt his party. On comparison between the media in India and in foreign countries, he said foreign media focuses on issues and not on personalities, unlike in India.
"In the international press, they ask probing questions. They prefer issues and not personalities....While here partly because of feudal and hierarchical mindset, we tend to focus on who says it," he said. Pitroda, credited with playing important role in ushering in telecom revolution, also said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were not foolproof. "I have tried to study EVMs, whose design is 15-year-old and information about these machines is very sketchy. "Transportation of these machines and counting are the two areas that can have leakages," he said, adding that though he could not pinpoint where the weakness in EVMs lies, "if you say these are 100 per cent foolproof, I don't buy it".
(With inputs from agencies.)