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Gujarat elections: Gujarati NRIs reach home state to boost BJP


gujarati nris reach home state to boost bjp

Around 20-25 NRIs are in touch with the Overseas Friends of BJP, an arm of the party that deals with the diaspora, to canvas for the party during Gujarat elections.

AHMEDABAD: Non-Resident Gujaratis are descending on their home state to boost BJP’s poll prospects and express their support to fellow Gujarati Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Around 20-25 NRIs are in touch with the Overseas Friends of BJP, an arm of the party that deals with the diaspora, to canvas for the party during Gujarat elections. Most of them are from the US, followed by UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Their number is likely to swell as the campaign picks up.

Vijay Chauthaiwale, chief of BJP’s foreign affairs department, told ET that these NRIs will bear their expenses in coming to Gujarat and while campaigning for the party. “We usually guide them on where they should campaign, but most of them wish to work in their home districts as they are familiar with the people and the geography.”

Some NRIs from Punjab and Rajasthan are also in touch with the party and are likely to be deployed in Ahmedabad and Surat where businessmen from these states have established themselves in the diamond and textile sectors over the years.

It’s marriage season in Gujarat (November 15 to December 15) and most non-resident Gujaratis visit their state during this period only. With Thanksgiving ending in the US, many NRIs are likely to visit India soon. Some prefer to visit in December, starting their holidays a few days before Christmas.

Chauthaiwale said there was a lot of enthusiasm among Gujarati NRIs during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when they came in droves to campaign for their CM who was set to become the prime minister. Most of the NRIs are keeping an eye on the state’s political developments through WatsApp groups managed by their friends and family back home. It came as a surprise to some BJP members when they received videos and other publicity material through social media from their relatives abroad.

“Modi’s heart is still in Gujarat and he is still overseeing the state’s development. The state has not seen any riots since 2002,” said Bhailal Patel, 77-year old Chicago-based NRI who claimed to have known Modi since he was “virtually a no body”. Patel’s WatsApp group has 151 US-based Gujarati NRIs as members. He also has a Facebook page that he uses for eulogising Modi and slamming Congress and its vicepresident Rahul Gandhi.

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