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 <<CityNews Main Send Flowers to India!

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I am Overwhelmed: Karnataka CM Yediyurappa


“I am overwhelmed by the affection shown by the Indian community in Atlanta. I will remember this visit for a long time,” said an appreciative Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. He was addressing the Atlanta Indian community that had assembled in large numbers to felicitate him at the Ashiana Banquet Hall in Global Mall Monday, September 1st. The felicitation program, which was organized by various Indian associations of Atlanta, saw an outpour of enthusiasm from people who cheered the dignitaries warmly through the proceedings.

The chief minister was accompanied by Krishna Shetty, Housing Minister, Murugesh Nirani, Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries and other high-level delegates.

Yediyurappa, who had earlier attended the Fifth World Kannada Convention (AKKA) in Chicago, said his first visit to the US as chief minister was not a holiday. “The purpose of the visit was to meet NRI Kannadigas and other Indians, see their success and seek investments. I attended several business meetings in Chicago, and saw a lot of enthusiasm from NRIs in investing in Karnataka,” he said.

The chief minister, whose cabinet will complete 100 days of office on September 9th, promised to change Karnataka completely in three to four years. He said his government has drawn up a new industrial policy and a Karnataka 20/20 vision document. “The purpose of our US visit is to lay the ground for this vision,” he said.

“The growth of Karnataka will contribute to the growth of India.” he said, before adding, “Let us forget our differences and come closer. We are Indians first, and Kannadiga, Tamilian, Telugu later. Let us uphold Indian culture and be proud to be Indians.”

Yediyurappa had earlier in the day visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in downtown Atlanta and paid obeisance to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi there. He said the inspiration he derived from the great souls (Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr) would live with him forever.

Dr. H.N. Ramaswamy, president of Nrupathunga Kannada Koota addressed the gathering in chaste Kannada. He spoke about the Kannadigas who had moved so far from home and adapted to the new culture here, while maintaining their own. “Some of us who moved here in the 60s and 70s had less than $20 in our pockets when we arrived,” he said. “With hard work and determination, we progressed over the years. But we have not forgotten our culture or our language,” he said.

Dr. Ramaswamy also elaborated on the charity works of the association.

A colorful cultural program was put together earlier in the evening by Nrupathunga Kannada Koota, Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA), Tamil Sangam, Maharashtra Mandal and other groups like the vibrant Bhangra team from Georgia Tech. The emcees for the evening were Murali Sajja and Anita Bhagavathula.

Shiv Aggarwal of Global Mall welcomed the audiences and the delegates. A plaque was presented to the chief minister on behalf of the Indian associations in Atlanta by Dr. Ravi Sarma, president of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale.

The Ashiana banquet hall was filled to the capacity by enthusiastic people from all Indian communities, who cheered the dignitaries warmly throughout the proceedings. The free to the public event also included dinner that was sponsored by the organizers. Chowdary Dhanala, Srini Lavu and Dr. Nagendra Srinivas Kodali organized and sponsored the program on behalf of the Indian community associations. In spite of little time to prepare for evening, the threesome put together a program of grand scale- something the community and the dignitaries will remember for a long time.


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