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Advani renews bond with Los Angeles
Suman Guha Mozumder in Los Angeles |
June 12, 2003 17:22 IST
Cine star Hema Malini led the ceremonial welcome to Lal Kishenchand Advani as the Indian American community of southern California gave a rousing reception in honour of the visiting deputy prime minister in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.
Dressed in a light colour sari and blouse and sporting her winning smile, Hema Malini offered flowers and a garland to Advani after the formal introduction by Ambassador Lalit Mansingh, at the grand ballroom of the Westend Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles.
The 700-odd members of the audience, who had each paid about $50 to attend the dinner reception, gave a standing ovation.
This was the first ever visit by Advani after 1992, when he visited the city as an opposition Member of Parliament to initiate a chapter of then budding Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
For 40 minutes or so, Advani kept the audience virtually spellbound as he talked about the progress of the BJP in India since 1984, the work of the government and how the BJP wants to transform India into a developed nation by 2020."
"We should make it our goal to make the next century the century of India," Advani said.
Though the visiting minister only recapitulated what he had already said on different occasions during his current visit to the United States, even on much publicised issues like cross-border terrorism, secularism, transforming India into a developed nation, he drew sustained applause.
In a rare show of unity, over 72 Indian American organisations joined hands for the reception at Mansingh's behest, something that Advani did not forget to appreciate.
"What matters for me is not the number of people present here tonight, but the fact that so many groups have united for this. This is laudable," he said.
Advani in US: Complete Coverage