The Business Times

Overseas Indians wield growing political might

An elaborate network, often with its political agenda hidden, has been set up to co-opt the country's diaspora in supporting Modi's re-election campaign in 2019.

Published Tue, Nov 24, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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ON NOV 13 at London's storied Wembley Stadium, globalisation met traditional politics from another continent. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, making a state visit to the UK, received a warm public reception and a song-and-dance extravaganza. The gathering of some 60,000 British Indians selected through community organisations had a serious purpose - to build a database of overseas Indians to help re-elect Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019.

The party's 2014 landslide win was supported by many non-resident Indians. Building on that success, BJP's central office has focused on bolstering its Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) arm to induct the diaspora into reinforcing its machine with internet skills and generous donations to the party through meticulous planning and implementation presented as spontaneous exuberance of overseas Indians for Mr Modi.

Repeating the 2014 success seems to be the overarching aim of the planning behind the orchestrated welcomes accorded Mr Modi during his trips to the US, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Britain over the past 14 months. The activities do not violate Indian law.

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