New Delhi, Feb. 10: Narendra Modi has been invited to a session of European Parliament, his website claimed today, two days after European Union (EU) nations announced they would re-engage with the Gujarat chief minister following a 12-year “boycott”.
Modi lost no time in building on the goodwill with the bloc’s leaders after they declared their decision, hooking up with some of them yesterday on Skype. According to the chief minister’s website, which carried a report on the discussions, the invitation is to attend European Parliament as well as a business meet in November.
The interaction was facilitated by the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar based in Bangalore where the EU leaders have come for an ongoing conference co-hosted by the spiritual guru and a business chamber.
The leaders Modi had talks with two members of the European Parliament, Joe Leinen (a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party) and Nirj Deva, a Lankan-origin British politician of the Conservative Party.
The others were Anne Marie Lizin (honorary president of the Belgian Senate), Vladislav Yurchik (a deputy of Russian parliament “Duma”) and Valery Sargienko (a member of Siberia’s legislative Assembly from the Communist Party). Yurchik and Sargienko are not from EU nations.
Ravi Shankar’s association with Modi goes back a long way. He had called on the chief minister in Gandhinagar on January 19 to greet him after his third election victory in December.
But yesterday’s interaction is being seen as a reflection of Modi’s predilection to use every network to cultivate a national and global profile, be it the Gujarati diaspora — instrumental in working on Britain to end its cold shoulder — powerful evangelists and college students.
The chief minister’s website, which carried a report on the interaction, said the lawmakers had invited him to attend the European Parliament, which will meet in Brussels in November, and to the European Business Meet, also in Belgium.
The website also highlighted that Gujarat had a dedicated department on climate change, claiming it was a first in Asia, and spoke of its initiatives in tapping solar energy as an alternative source of power. Climate change is a key theme in the West.
Modi’s message to Nirj Deva, the British representative of Lankan origin, was that the Gujarat government was working on a “Ram trail” from Gujarat to Sri Lanka and a Buddhist circuit from Sri Lanka to Gujarat. Deva assured Modi he would take up the issue with President Mahinda Rajapakse.