Following his flying Holi visit to Italy, Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi will kick off his visit to Singapore and Malaysia tomorrow in a bid to reach out to the Indian diaspora in the two southeast Asian countries, party sources in New Delhi said.
Gandhi will visit the two countries from March 8 to 10 as part of his political outreach programme, they added.
He will address the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore tomorrow and meet other representatives of the Indian community there. He will address the Indian diaspora in Malaysia on March 10 before returning to India.
The programme is being organised by the AICC Overseas cell headed by technocrat Sam Pitroda. Pitroda had earlier successfully organised Rahul Gandhi's visits to the US and west Asia. Gandhi’s increased overseas itinerary can be seen as an attempt to replicate the success Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had in his interactions with the diaspora, given that NRIs will be allowed to vote in the 2019 national elections.
“The original Congress movement was an NRI movement. Mahatma Gandhi was an NRI, Jawaharlal Nehru came back from England, Ambedkar, Azad, Patel, these were all NRIs," Rahul had said in New York during his visit.
“Every single one of them went to the outside world, saw the outside world, returned and used some of the ideas they got and transformed India,” he added.
Rahul’s visit to Singapore will be his second as he was earlier in the Lion City in June 2006 on the invitation of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.
The Congress president is later also expected to travel to Dubai and Canada. The visit to Malaysia and Singapore comes ahead of the AICC plenary session scheduled to be held in the national capital from March 16 to 18.