NRIs join pollwagon amid Modi hate speech

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | Ahmedabad, Dec 7 | Updated: Dec 8 2007, 05:01am hrs
Giving a new dimension to the already high-voltage electioneering in the state, a large number of Gujarati NRIs have descended here with all their might to help political parties of their choice in the Assembly elections due on December 11 and 16.

From among approximately 100 big and small NRIs, who have come here, majority of them are in support of the BJP (read chief minister Narendra Modi), who feel that the state will lose a lot if Narendra Bhai gets defeated in the elections. Contrary to this a few of them are here to support the Congress, as they feel that a divided society cant develop.

Supporters of both sides, who have mostly come from the US, the UK, New Zealand and Gulf, though having no voting rights, claimed that they were here because of their feelings for the birth place (Gujarat) and home land (India).

Interestingly, a minuscule minority among the NRIs has come to the state with an intention not to support either of the existing political formation, but to mobilise people by interacting with them to choose the right candidates, who can deliver for them.

Although I cant vote, still I would like to see to it that right people are voted to power. Even if I cant vote I would like to make sure that other 100 people at least go and vote. Its very important, says 42-year-old Rajen Patel from London, who claimed that he was neither with the BJP nor the Congress.

Patel, who claims to have campaigned for former US Vice President Al Gore when he was in the presidential race, says about 100 like-minded NRIs in the UK have decided to come to Gujarat to mobilise people and help them in selecting the right candidates.

Coming out in support of Modi, 45-year-old US citizen Deepak Bhai Patel, who is also the chairman of the Asian-American hotel owners association, said, I am here with 32 like-minded NRIs and are working whole hog through out the state to see that Modi comes back to power and vibrancy of Gujarat continues unabated.

When asked comment on the charges that they have come here to support Modi because of their fear of a communal backlash in the event of his being defeated, Deepak Bhai said, There is no fear. We are supporting a right person. I have many from among the Muslim community as personal friends and business associates. Its rubbish.

We would like to invest in Gujarat as things have improved a lot here. There is less of corruption now and action is taken on complaints made even over phones. More than business we have already invested a lot in the social sectors and positive results are apparent, thanks to good governance, Deepak Bhai added.

Moreover, rejecting the claims of development under Modis government are the Congress supporters, who have also come in good number. Most of them have their roots in Porbander, the land where Mahatma Gandhi was born.