REACHING OUT to the Patidar community in the diamond city of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said he was going to Israel as ‘their representative’ and sought better participation from those in the industry in making India emerge as the leader in the gems and jewellery sector. gI am going to Israel in July. I am the first Indian Prime Minister to go Israel. The diamond business of Surat has business links with the Israeli companies, I assure you that I am going there as your representative,” the Prime Minister said while inaugurating the Samast Patidar Arogya Trust-run Kiran Hospital at Katargam area in Surat. The Samast Patidar Arogya Trust is headed by Lalji Patel, a diamond baron who had bought Modi’s monogrammed suit in 2015.
“Enough of just diamond cutting and polishing. We need to make consumers across the globe interested in ‘designed in India’ jewellery,” Modi said to the diamond barons, adding,
“You can ask for any help from my government (in achieving this goal).” Citing examples of charity work done by diamond barons, he asked people to be generous and be more involved in the development of native villages of Saurashtra. Most diamond businessmen in Surat belong to Saurashtra and had migrated over three decades ago. Praising the ‘parivar bhaav’ of Surat, Modi said, “Wherever I go, sometimes I feel that people have distanced themselves from me. Everyone sees me as pradhan mantri (Prime Minister), but Surat is different from others. Whenever I come to Surat, people don’t see me as PM, but like a family member”.
He narrated how a family offered him dinner and another, breakfast of bhakri as it was typical of Saurashtra. “It is not difficult to know what a pradhan mantri would eat or not eat,” he said.
Modi said, when he laid the foundation stone of the hospital, he had said that he would inaugurate it as well, and therefore he was here. “This Lalji Badshah (Lalji Patel) wanted to take a picture with me. I told him- I will let you only if you give me Rs 50 crore…I used to work with you all with such authority.”