BJP’s NRI backers to launch support drives in 30 nations

The iconic Sydney Opera House, located in the bay of Sydney Harbour, will be the venue for a programme being organised on Sunday where the participants will discuss why it is important to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he leads the BJP into general elections in April.

The NRI 4 NAMO meeting is not the only one of its kind. As the first phase of polling on April 11 draws near, programmes to reinforce the ruling party’s efforts to retain power will be organised in several locations outside India. NRI is short for non-resident Indian, and NAMO is an acronym comprising the initials of the PM’s name.

As was done in the run-up to the 2014 general election that saw BJP emerge victorious with 31% vote share, campaigns to support Modi and the BJP are being anchored by Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has chapters in at least 30 countries.

NRIs who support the party will help carry out campaigns both in India and in the countries they live in. These NRIs also reach out to friends and family in India and help in fund raising.

The party is counting on supporters in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Malaysia and across the Gulf region.

The BJP’s campaign is also being shored up by the vast network of volunteers associated with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the overseas arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

BJP is not the only party relying on Indian diaspora to create a favourable atmosphere for it. Parties like Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Admi Party also bank on the NRI pool for raising money and manpower to strengthen campaigns.

While there is no data either with the parties or the Election Commission on how many NRIs turn up to vote, 71,735 Indians abroad are registered as voters with the EC, of which 66,866 are men, 4,849 women and 20 belong to the third gender.

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