World’s largest democracy hails Obama’s historic win

November 5th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) India, the world’s largest democracy, joined the world Wednesday to welcome the historic victory of Barack Obama as the 44th US president, the first African-American to rise to the powerful post. Political and business leaders, students, Indians settled in the US and even policemen welcomed the sweeping win and expressed hope that the change of guard in Washington would usher in a new world order.

Millions across the country were glued to television sets as they heard the 47-year-old Black American deliver a memorable acceptance speech. Many were choked to emotion.

President Pratibha Patil sent a quick congratulatory message: “The people of India see his election as a historic mandate.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: “Your extraordinary journey to the White House will inspire people not only in your country but also around the world.”

Congress party spokesman Manish Tiwari told IANS: “He combined the conviction of Martin Luther King with the eloquence of Bill Clinton. The Congress conveys its heartiest congratulations to him.”

This is what Prakash Javadekar, the spokesman of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had to say: “Kya rulaya usne aaj (He made everyone cry today and how!). He was just great.”

Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and otherwise a bitter critic of the US, called Obama’s victory “a significant event” and credited it to George W. Bush’s “deeply unpopular” policies.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the first Dalit to rule the country’s most populous state, issued a terse statement on behalf of her Bahujan Samaj Party: “The party is quite happy with Obama’s victory.”

The Samajwadi Party, which in the past has hosted Bill Clinton in Lucknow, said the election result would boost business and economic ties between India and the US.

The politicians were not alone in hailing Obama.

“I heard the speech of Obama carefully,” Saroj Sahu, who runs an IT firm in Orissa, told IANS in Bhubaneswar. Orissa’s sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik created a sand image of Obama on the beach of his home town Puri.

Lucknow’s Senior Superintendent of Police Akhil Kumar told IANS: “A non-white becoming the president is a positive signal for our country as well as the Indians living in America. We hope the change will create new opportunities for our professionals.”

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahli of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said: “It will be a welcome change, especially for Islamic countries which were always being targeted by (outgoing US president) George W. Bush on the pretext of fighting terrorism.”

Jasjit Singh, owner of a transport company in Nevada town in the US who is visiting India, said in Chandigarh: “The victory has proved that change can happen in American politics. And this change is surely for the betterment of society, especially for the weak and developing nations.”

Added Bhupinder Singh, who has settled down in Chandigarh after living in New Jersey for 35 long years: “Obama depicts the young face of American politics. He has broken the old notion that Americans vote only for whites. Asian and African countries should expect better dealings with the US in future.”

In Mumbai, Shrichand P. Hinduja, chairman of the Hinduja Group, paid handsome tribute to the victor.

“Obama not only managed to galvanise the entire US, particularly the youth, but also managed to cut across old political and racial divides. I am sure that the world’s two largest democracies will come together to reduce global conflicts and poverty.”

School students were not to be left behind.

At the Delhi Public School in the national capital, a Class 12 student, Pooja Batra, exclaimed: “Thanks god! Another Bush-like administration would have been too much.”

Her friend Richa was equally happy: “Obama is cute. I saw him live on a TV show. He is light hearted.”

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