“India is at a crucial crossroads and unless NRIs come forward in preserving truth, trust, inclusion, and non-violence, India’s democracy could be in jeopardy,” Said Mr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Overseas Congress Department of All India Congress Committee.
Pitroda was inaugurating the National Conference of the Indian Overseas Congress that was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York. “A climate of fear is gripping the nation and lies are constantly propagated for political ends” Pitroda added citing the case against National Herald newspaper. “Congress believes in the bottom-up development, not top-down approach followed by the current government that benefits a few”. Pointing to the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2019, he urged the delegates who have gathered there to collaborate and work together in unity so that Congress party can restore the democratic values that have been the hallmark of the nation for the last 7 decades.
Dr. Surinder Malhotra, who has served as the President of INOC, USA for a number of years and a member of the governing Board of IOC appealed to the gathering for an end to groupism and division and to move forward. Mr. George Abraham, the Vice-Chair of the IOC detailed various threats to democracy in India and asked the meeting to be pro-active in dealing with critical issues. “Constitution is out there to protect us; however, if we don’t protect the constitution, it will not protect us either” Abraham added.
Mohinder Singh, Gilzian, President of the INOC, USA lauded the Congress party for its enormous contribution to India that made it a prosperous economy and detailed some of his plans to grow the Overseas Congress in the USA. He promised to increase the membership of the organization and bring in more young people to the fold primarily by reaching out to the large pool of Indian students at the Universities. He has also promised to conduct charitable programs on behalf of the organization and to send volunteers to the upcoming elections in India. In addition, he expressed optimism that a ‘Congress Bhavan’ can be built as headquarters for IOC in the not so distant future.
Himanshu Vyas, newly appointed Secretary to the Overseas Congress Department of AICC spoke about building strong Overseas Congress Chapters around the globe and asked the participants to communicate with him for any extra help from his Delhi office.
Madhu Yaskhi, former Member of Parliament and AICC Secretary Spoke about the challenges to Indian democracy and pointed out, in particular, the corruption at the highest levels citing the Rafael Jet purchasing case. He urged NRIs to get involved and bring about a change that is essential for the survival of India’s democracy.
Shudh Prakash Singh, President of INOC (I) introduced several members of INOC (I) to the audience. Mr. Harbachan Singh, Secretary-General of the INOC, USA and Rajender Dichpally, General Secretary of INOC (I), Mr. Kamalpreet Singh Dhaliwal, President of IOC, United Kingdom and Dr. Dayan Naik also addressed the conference. Manoj Shinde presented an integrated IT plan for the organization and asked members to provide him with the content.
Tavishi Alagh, the Media Coordinator for Overseas Congress Department of AICC, screened several videos at the conference showing the history the Congress Party and fortitude of the past leaders of the freedom struggle along with Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s vision for a more inclusive India.
In the ensuing discussions, delegates from all Chapters spoke about the vision and missions of the organization and stressed the issue of unity as a pre-requisite to moving forward in achieving set goals. T. J. Gill, Malini Shah, John Joseph, Gurmit Singh Gill, Charan Singh, Phuman Singh, Ravi Chopra, Thomas T. Oommen, Satish Sharma, R. Jayachandran, Zinda Singh, Kulbir Singh Prempur Sarpanch, Sarvjit Singh, Prasad Kambapathy, Devendra Vora, Girish Vaidya, Ajay Singh Lakhan, Santok Singh, Paul Sihota, Rana Gill, Jaya Sundaram, Ram Gadula, Harkesh Thakur, Oommen Koshy, Chandu Patel, Santhosh Nair, Rajesh Allahdad, Thomas Mathew, Krishan Arora, Leela Maret, Sawaran Singh, Vishak Cherian, Paul Paramby, Ramesh Chandra, Nikhil G. Reddy, Saji Karimpannuur, Rajan Padavathil, Mr. Sravanth Poreddy, Krishna Chaithanya and Anil Patel, Dr. Mohammed Jameel, Dr. Enu Karuvathu, Joy Thomas, Saji Abraham, Madhu Erugu, Raj Boda, Rajeev Mohanan also participated in the discussions. Delegates from various States including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, California, Indiana, Texas, Minnesota, Washington, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ontario (Canada) were present at the meeting.
A copy of the constitution was presented to the meeting by Mr. Harbachan Singh who is the main architect behind that effort. The document was referred to Sanjay Dubey Esq to resolve various legal questions concerning that within the next two weeks. The meeting also appointed committee Chairpersons for Finance, Membership, Youth group, Women’s group, IT group, Social Media etc. and a detailed list will be published soon.