Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 13, 2014

GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election

Niagara Gazette — A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. — a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area — are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.

Upward of 100 people may be viewing a video presentation via satellite with Narendra Modi, the heavy favorite to be India’s next prime minister, as the main speaker. The reservations-only event is set for the Niagara Club, at First Street and Buffalo Avenue.

In India, nearly 815 million people are eligible to vote — the balloting started April 7— and the polls will remain open over the next three weeks. It has been accurately described as the world’s biggest election.

On the local front, B.F. Patel, who operates the Econo Lodge on Rainbow Boulevard, and his son, Nirel, a co-owner of the Niagara Club, will be watching with added interest.

The elder Patel, who is building an 89-room Marriott Courtyard hotel at Buffalo Avenue and John Daly Boulevard, said: “Modi (a Hindu nationalist) is bound to win this election.” The hotelier noted there is no one on the horizon who seems capable of defeating him.”

According to the current issue of The Economist, Modi is the overwhelming favorite to be the next PM. The magazine’s cover story contends that India is riddled with serious problems (e.g. millions of young Indians left jobless because of that nation’s slow growth, roads and electricity generally are unavailable and increasing numbers of children are uneducated). To compound matters, politicians and officials during the present Congress party’s tenure have been accused of taking bribes of between $4 billion and $12 billion. (And we think some state lawmakers in Albany are corrupt?)

The Economist, by the way, does not support Modi who it claims has refused to put Muslim fears to rest and, as a result, continues to thrive on division.

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