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Modi finds his niche in Meghalaya; speaks English, talks football

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Shillong by chopper at 10.30 am and attended the second day of the NEC Plenary at the State Convention Centre, here on Friday. Later at a public meeting held at Polo Ground where an unexpectedly huge crowd turned out and exceeded the capacity of the ground, the Prime Minister urged  Meghalaya to “lead the way” for other parts of the country to build a series of major events leading to the Under-17 World Cup.

Addressing the gathering in English the Prime Minister said, “We are all aware of the love that the people of the Northeast, and especially Meghalaya, have for football. Football is a passion here and is played in every nook and corner.” This could not have failed to strike the right chord among the people of Meghalaya whose love for football is legendary.

Speaking extempore, Modi rattled off the names of some of the footballers from Meghalaya who have made it big nationally, the PM said, “We are all familiar with famous football players such as Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Aibor Khongjee, and Marlangki Suting. They have done both the country and the State proud, by representing India in International tournaments, and their clubs in the Indian Super League.”

Stating that Meghalaya has a large number of football clubs, he suggested that the state could perhaps organise competitive local tournaments and lead the way for other parts of the country to build a series of major events leading to the Under-17 World Cup.

Speaking on the tourism sector of Meghalaya, Modi said that the State has a distinct historical, cultural and ethnic heritage  besides being blessed with natural beauty and wildlife, adding, “There is no reason for a tourist to not want to visit Meghalaya. There is a tremendous opportunity for tourism, as well as adventure tourism, in the North Eastern Region, particularly, Meghalaya,” he said, adding  there is a need to develop tourist circuits by providing better facilities to tourists, in terms of improved road connectivity, hotels, and cleanliness.

It may be mentioned “We are all familiar with famous football players such as Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Aibor Khongjee, and Marlangki Suting. They have done both the country and the State proud, by representing India in International tournaments, and their clubs in the Indian Super League,” Modi said.

Stating that Meghalaya has a large number of football clubs, he suggested that the state could perhaps organise competitive local tournaments and lead the way for other parts of the country to build a series of major events leading to the Under-17 World Cup.

On the tourism sector of Meghalaya, Modi said that  Meghalaya has a distinct historical, cultural and ethnic heritage  besides being blessed with natural beauty and wildlife.

“There is no reason for a tourist to not want to visit Meghalaya. There is a tremendous opportunity for tourism, as well as adventure tourism, in the North Eastern Region, particularly, Meghalaya,” he said, adding  there is a need to develop tourist circuits by providing better facilities to tourists, in terms of improved road connectivity, hotels, and cleanliness.

It may be mentioned that India will be hosting  the FIFA Under-17 World Cup next year.

The Prime Minister, also laid the base for the construction of a multi sports stadium at Ampati  in South West Garo Hills and expressed hope that the stadium would fulfil the Meghalaya government’s “Mission Football”.

Both during the NEC plenary session and the public meeting held at Polo Grounds on Friday, Modi spoke in English with the intention to connect with the non-Hindi speaking tribes. However during his speech at Polo Grounds, Modi also interspersed his speech with Hindi in order to convey his message to the common man about what benefits they can reap from the various central schemes and interventions. In his address, Modi referred to the plan of Centre to set up BPO industry in Northeast due to the large number of English speaking youths.

The Modi App

The Prime Minister also informed the public of a novel way to be connected with him. The public can give a missed call from their mobile phones to toll free No 18002090920 to download the Narendra Modi App.

Later while moving around to visit the stalls put up by Self Help Groups (SHGs) at Polo Ground to highlight their achievements  the PM posed for a selfie at least on two occasions. The Prime Minister was seen going to the stalls and keenly observing the Northeast products. He also acknowledged that the artefacts and products displayed in the exhibition were impressive.

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