Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar were NRIs, Rahul Gandhi says in US

New York— C ongress leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were NRIs who returned to their country to transform India, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has said, exhorting overseas Indians to help their country modernise and prosper.

Gandhi’s call came during an interaction with NRIs at the iconic Times Square on Wednesday at the end of a two week-long speaking tour of the United States, which many say has helped raise his political profile and emerge from his usually reticent style.

“The original Congress movement was an NRI movement. Mahatma Gandhi was an NRI, Jawaharlal Nehru came back from England. (BR) Ambedkar, (Abul Kalam) Azad, (Sardar) Patel they were all NRIs,” he told a select gathering.

“Every single one of them went to the outside world, saw the outside world, returned to India and used some of the ideas that they had got and transformed India,” he said, adding that father of the White Revolution in India, Verghese Kurien, was also an NRI.

The Congress’ heir apparent also exhorted NRIs to join hands with the grand old party.

“You have tremendous knowledge and understanding so you need to involve. I want to invite you to work with Congress to discuss vision for going forward. We want to take your help.”

“Everywhere you look, there is an Indian working for US and India, building both countries,” he said, courting a community that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had wooed at several big-ticket public rallies in the past.

In a veiled attack on the Modi government, Gandhi said “divisive politics was ruining India’s reputation abroad”.

“NRIs in the tradition of the great NRIs before them should stand up to those dividing India now,” he added.

Gandhi also praised Sam Pitroda, who was an adviser to his father Rajiv Gandhi and to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as another NRI who through his work on telecommunications helped transform India.

Pitroda, who has taken over the NRI mission of the Congress as the chairman of its Overseas Department, organised Rahul Gandhi’s US visit.

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