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'People of India had to choose between worst and horrible'

May 19, 2014 11:44 IST

The Mahatma's descendants differ over Modi and the BJP victory... US-based Coalition Against Genocide vows to oppose Modi... Only Hindu US Congresswoman congratulates Modi... George Joseph/ reports from New York.

"The choice before the people was between worst and horrible," says Rochester, New York-based Dr Arun Gandhi, commenting on the Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in India's general election.

"They chose horrible and we will have to live with that choice," Dr Gandhi, a grandson of the Mahatma, said.

Dr Shanti Gandhi, a great grandson of the Mahatma, who is a state legislator in Kansas, felt, "The high turnout and the high margin of victory comes with a price of high expectations. Hope Narendra Modi (the BJP's prime ministerial nominee) can deliver. It won't be easy considering the economic slump over last few years and the level of corruption entrenched in the system."

"There will not be any shortage of forces ready to tear him down at every turn," Dr Shanti Gandhi said.

The Coalition Against Genocide, a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat riots of 2002, and to defending India's secular traditions, has pledged to continue its struggle with renewed fervour in the wake of the election results in India.

"CAG is unequivocal in its position. We continue to believe Modi is responsible, not only for the brutal pogroms of 2002, that claimed over 2,000 lives, but also for the denial of justice to the victims, harassment of human rights activists and fake police encounter killings pursued in Gujarat as a matter of State policy," coalition spokesperson Dr Shaik Ubaid said.

"It is unprecedented in the history of independent India that a person whose complicity in organised mass violence is being heard by a high court in India can be the prime ministerial designate," Dr Ubaid added.

"It is a tragedy that a nation of more than a billion people with a rich history of harmony ends up with such a person as their prime minister," he said.

The coalition has called upon lawmakers in the US to accept the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which urged the US administration to include the issue of human rights in its bilateral talks with India.

'The people of India have spoken and they have thrown in their lot with BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and their verdict ought to be respected by all,' George Abraham, chairman of the Indian National Overseas Congress (I), USA, said in a statement.

'It is a tribute to India that has proven beyond any doubt that it is a vibrant democracy that facilitates a peaceful transition of power looks rather easy. Congratulations are in order for Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate who has led NDA to a great victory,' Abraham stated.

'I hope the incoming NDA government will continue to safeguard the democratic and secular fabric of the nation and work towards unity and purpose where all its citizens are treated equally regardless of their caste, religion or region,' Abraham added.

United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, congratulated Narendra Modi.

'I recently spoke with Narendra Modi by phone and congratulated him and the Bharatiya Janata Party for winning a majority vote in India's Lok Sabha. This election was an extraordinary achievement for the 550 million Indians who voted over the course of six weeks in some 930,000 polling locations,' Gabbard said.

'I look forward to working with Modi and other members of the Indian government toward our mutual goals of peace, stability, and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region,' Gabbard, who has been elected from Hawaii, added.

Image: BJP victory celebrations in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. Photograph: Paresh Gandhi/

George Joseph/ in New York