Mohinder Singh Gilzian took charge as the new President of Indian Overseas Congress, USA (IOC), in a function held on March 17, 2019, at Jericho Palace in Long Island, NY. In a colorful ceremony attended by IOC officials and Congress loyalists from the Tristate area, the gavel was handed over from the outgoing President Shudh Prakash Singh, according to a press release.
About 200 people gathered together and felicitated Mohinder Singh Gilzian on his assumption of duties as the President. Dr. Surinder Malhotra, the first President of INOC, lauded the appointment of Gilzian and urged for unity in moving forward while focusing on its mission. He stressed the importance of promoting the strategic partnership between India and the U.S.
George Abraham, the vice-chairman, described Gilzian as a dedicated Congressman who earned the right to be president through hard work and sheer determination.
“He is as genuine a human being you may encounter anywhere,” said Abraham while throwing his support fully behind the newly appointed President.
Harbachan Singh, the Secretary-General toasted Gilzian’s appointment by Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Overseas Congress department and offered gratitude and good wishes to Shudh Prakash Singh who is leaving the post.
Gilzian in his address expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to Rahul Gandhi, President of AICC, Sam Pitroda, Global Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress and Himanshu Vyas, Secretary, AICC in charge of the Overseas Congress department. He also paid tribute to past presidents Dr. Surinder Malhotra, George Abraham and Shudh Prakash Singh for their dedication and service to the organization.
Gilzian went on to explain his vision for the organization and said “Now that the responsibility has been passed on to me, I will continue our focus in strengthening the organization.”
“As President, I will listen and ensure transparency where your views will be respected. We will be enrolling new members especially those with leadership quality to strengthen and expand our reach to the Diaspora. One of our missions is to promote a strong bilateral relationship between the US and India and we will do our utmost in that regard,” he said.
“The upcoming elections in India are very critical, and we are planning to send teams of volunteers so that we can make a difference. We will also strive to create a strong social media presence to challenge the misinformation campaign that is waged by the opposition. John F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech said the following: ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country,” he said.
“At this critical time let us also ask what we can do for the Congress Party to save democracy in India. It appears that the Modi government has neither respect for the Constitution nor do they honor the independence of its institutions that served the Indian democracy well over the last 70 years,” he said.
“In 2018, four Supreme Court judges held a press conference to air their concern that democracy is in danger. Top officers of CBI or other enforcement agencies are sent on leave if they are to raise any allegation of corruption on the part of this government. India is no longer considered in the top 10 destinations for foreign direct investment,” he said.
“The unemployment in the country is at a 45 year high at 7.4% in December 2018. The youth in the country between the ages of 15 and 29 are facing a very tough time finding jobs. Congress party stood for every section of the society and stressed on bottom-up development. Our country is indeed in a crisis, and as NRIs, we need to step up, be united and defeat this regime in this upcoming election. It is essential that as NRIs who are living in every part of the world, we fight all forms of bigotry and hatred and bring the country back where the government can focus on development and prosperity for all its citizens,” he said.
Felicitation ceremonies began with the presentation of flowers by Lona Abraham followed by various chapter heads and Committees’ Chairs and other supporters who took turns to congratulate Mohinder Singh and honored him with shawls and flowers. Everyone gathered pledged their full support and vowed to work in unity and harmony going forward to help the Congress Party.
Prominent leaders who spoke from the rostrum included Dr. Dayan Naik, Chandu Patel, Dr. Jayesh Patel, Tejinder Gill, Sher Madra, Leela Maret, Phuman Singh, Charan Singh, Ramesh Chandra, Kulbir Singh, Devendra Vora, Kalathil Varghese, Ravi Chopra, Shalu Chopra, Malini Shah, Rajeswara Reddy, Zinda Singh, John Joseph, Koshy Oommen, Satish Sharma, Harry Singh, Sravanth Poreddy, Lalit Malhotra, Rajesh Alahdad, Druva Chowddhary, Pradeep Samala, Sukhjender Singh Pappy Badesha, Amar Singh Gulshan, Mohammed Jameel, Butter and Gurbinder Talwandi. In closing, Rajender Dichpally, General Secretary, expressed the vote of thanks.