SAN JOSE — In a veiled attack on the corruption during UPA regime and a barb at the Congress President's son-in-law Robert Vadra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today deprecated the culture of graft in the country and said he has provided graft-free governance.
He said corruption during the previous government's time had triggered anger among people.
"In our country it doesn't take much for allegations to come up against politicians... Someone made 50 crores, someone's son made 250 crores, (someone's) daughter made 500 crores, (someone's) damaad (son-in-law) made 1000 crores..." he said addressing the Indian community at the packed SAP Centre in San Jose, California.
Switching on to a question answer mode, he asked the audience "Is the country not disappointed?"
The people replied "yes".
"Is there not anger against corruption," he asked.
"Yes," people shouted.
Mod then asked, "I am standing before you. Tell me if there is any allegation against me."
"No," people shouted. He then told the crowd that he is giving every minute of his life in the service of the nation and he would live and die for the country.
While Modi's reference to sons and daughters of politicians being corrupt is seen as a reference to culture of corruption in the country, the reference to son-in-law is seen as a barb at alleged land deals entered into by Vadra with the some state governments.
Modi also said that the 21st century is India's century and attributed the sudden change in India's fortune to the commitment, strength and pledge of the 125 crore people of the country.
"For some time now, people are saying that the 21st century is India's century," Modi thundered in an address to a strong crowd of 18,500 Indian-Americans.
A memorable programme in San Jose. Gratitude to all those who joined. pic.twitter.com/u16CceUUUn— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 28, 2015
PM @narendramodi: From Upanishads we have moved to upgraha. India succeeded in its Mars Mission in the very first attempt.— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) September 28, 2015
Modi said that in the past 16 months, world's perception about India has changed dramatically. The world is looking at India with a new vision and aspiration. He attributed this change to the commitment, strength and pledge of the 125 crore people of the country. Modi said he is confident of India's success because 65 per cent of the population of the country are of less than 35 years 800 million.
"I can tell you with confidence that this country will not remain behind," he said during his speech, which was marked with several round of thunderous applause. Modi said India is in a strong position today.
In just 15 months, India has scaled new height, has attained economic stability. In the past six months almost all rating agency have said in one voice that India is the fastest growing economy in large countries, he said. Modi said that no one ever thought that brain drain can become brain gain.
"This is actually brain deposit," he asserted, adding that it would serve its motherland at an appropriate time. "Now it is the time that every Indian can show people their strength," he said in his hour-long speech.
Modi recollected the contribution of the Gadar party in San Francisco in India's independence movement. California has had a historic relationship and contribution in India's development, he said.
"Today is September 27 here and in India it is September 28. September 28 is the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh. I salute the martyr," Modi said and asked the audience to chant with him Veer Bhagat Singh Amar Rahe.
"I am meeting Indian American a year after the Madison Square Garden event in New York. I am coming to California after 25 years. A lot has changed. Many new faces that I see. I can see here India's vibrancy here," he said.
Modi congratulated Indian-Americans for the place of pride they came created for themselves among the people of Californians. The world has changed its impression about India because of your talent in computers. With your talent, commitment, innovations you are forcing the world to change.
If they do not change their view about India, they would become irrelevant in the 21st century he said.
Modi speaks on JAM
On his ambitious Digital India programme, Modi said his mission is JAM - Jan Dhan financial inclusion program, Aadhar unique identity card and Mobile Governance.
In just 100 days, 18 crores new bank accounts were opened, which deposited Rs 32,000 crores in the bank, he said.
There is new movement in India to provide unique identification to every citizens of India. And finally mobile governance, on which work is in full swing, he said. All these, he said, have resulted in reduction in corruption, saving hundreds and thousands of crores to the country's exchequer.
The Prime Minister said that the world is facing two biggest challenges of terrorism and global warming. "This can be successfully addressed with firm commitment and co-operation with the people of the world," he said.
He rued that even today the United Nations has no definition of terrorism. If it has taken the UN 15 years to define terrorism, how long will it take to fight terrorism, he asked. Ridiculing the concept of good and bad terrorism, Modi said terrorism is terrorism.
Good terrorism and bad terrorism
"There is no good terrorism and bad terrorism," he said.
"India has been suffering from terrorism for 40 years. All human forces should come together against terrorism. There is need for an unity against terrorism. Only then there can be peace in the world," he said.
"India is a peace loving country. It is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha. It is the land of peace and ahimsa," he said.
Modi said he would raise the issue of terrorism again at the United Nations tomorrow. He is scheduled to address a UN Peacekeeping Summit convened by US President Barack Obama. At the top of the event, he was greeted by a number of US lawmakers.
Among the Congressmen who attended the event were Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressmen Ami Bera and George Holding, two co-chairs of the influential Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, were also there. Among other lawmakers include Loretta Sanchez, Eric Swalwell, Mike Honda, Tulsi Gabbard and Jim McDermott.
US President Barack Obama will meet Modi today after his address to the UN General Assembly's inaugural session.