New Delhi: As the Lok Sabha election is only a few weeks away, the overseas friends of the BJP are all geared up to give their favourite Prime Minister Narendra Modi a second term in India. The overseas volunteers of the BJP are leaving no stone unturned to make this possible.
Last Sunday, the iconic Sydney Opera House, located on the bay of Sydney Harbour, witnessed a huge gathering of Modi’s supporters. They discussed the necessity to support Prime Minister Modi as he leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into a general election in April, informed Sanjay Srivastava, president of the Nigeria chapter of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP).
As the first phase of polling on 11 April draws near, apart from ‘NRI 4 NAMO’, many other programmes are in the line in different parts of the world outside India to ensure that the BJP emerges victorious and Modi leads the nation once again.
Role of an NRI
Similar to the run-up to the 2014 general election that saw the BJP emerge victorious with 31% of the vote share, campaigns to support Modi and the BJP are being organised by OFBJP. It has registered its presence in around 30 countries around the world.
NRIs who love the BJP are voluntarily coming out and playing their part in these campaigns. These Indians living abroad reach out also to friends and family in India and help in fundraising. The party is counting heavily on supporters in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Malaysia and across the Gulf region.
Difference in approach
Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of the BJP’s foreign affairs department, of which the OFBJP is a part, has this to say : “The difference between 2014 and now is that, earlier, these programmes were conducted extempore, and now it is more systematic since we have strengthened our support system in over 30 countries. The PM’s interactions with the diaspora itself have given the exercise a fresh impetus.”
Reasons behind support
Chauthaiwale attributes the surge in support for Modi to three major factors – national security, developmental steps and the foreign policy initiatives taken by the Modi led govt. has struck a chord with the NRI community. It has resonated well with them on the ground.
The style and strategy followed in most of the countries are similar: weekend discussions, cultural programmes and the BJP’s trademark “chai pe charcha” (discussion over a cup of tea) made popular by Modi himself during the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.
The RSS factor
The BJP’s campaign is being shored up also by the vast network of volunteers associated with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the overseas arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) according to Chauthaiwale.
It is not only the BJP that is relying on and eyeing the Indian diaspora to create a favourable atmosphere for itself. Parties like the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Admi Party are banking on the NRI lobby too for raising funds and manpower to strengthen their own campaigns.
As per estimates, 71,735 Indians abroad are registered as voters with the EC, of which 66,866 are men, 4,849 women and 20 are from the third gender.