On a boisterous Sunday afternoon at the Madison Square Garden in New York, visiting PM Narendra Modi charmed the 18000-strong live audience and billions of others with his trademark oratory. In a completely sold-out event, the chants of "Modi, Modi, Modi" and lusty cheers interrupted the speech. Before the grand speech, the arena witnessed a mega entertainment show based on the theme of India’s traditional folk dances and Bollywood songs like Chakde India, Jai Ho and Ye Mera India. Nothing like this event has ever been seen here, say old timers.
As PM Modi walked in slowly, the 18,000-plus audience erupted in joy and pride. The PM pressed all the right buttons in a speech that got a rock-star ovation. He entertained the crowd with jokes about how India, once called a land of snake-charmers was now spinning the world around with a computer mouse and how it had accomplished a Mars mission at seven rupees a kilometre while it cost 10 rupees a kilometre in Ahmedabad. But at the core of his speech was an appeal to the wealthy NRI/PIOs to give back to a country that nurtured them.
For nearly an hour, the man who had been banned from visiting the US till recently held his audience spellbound, talking to them about the pride, problems, and promise of India. Dressed in a saffron jacket, he gave an extempore Hindi speech that was relayed and translated by a dozen networks across the world.
Modi’s major announcements during his speech
* Lifetime visas for persons of Indian origin (PIO) cardholders
* PIO and OCI cards to be merged into a common card
* Those coming to India for a long stay will not have to report periodically at police stations
* US nationals to get long term visas and visa on arrival