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Overseas friends lend Modi a helping hand

By R Rajagopalan
March 11, 2019 09:58 IST
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The Friends of Modi initiative is expected to to boost the BJP's vote count by at least 1%.
R Rajagopalan reports.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

A 2,500-strong brigade -- 'Friends of Narendra Modi' -- from all over the world is working overtime to ensure that he returns to power on May 23, 2019.

Spread over 50 countries, these Modi admirers are united online, with one group e-mail ID and a WhatsApp group, and also follow each other on social media.

Their campaign: Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai.

Most of them are based in Australia, the United States of America, South Africa. They have a strong presence in Singapore and Malaysia.

This global group was not active or organised in 2014, but during Modi's foreign visits these individuals, who belonged to the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's international outfits like the Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh in the US, have come together to use social media to power Modi's agenda.

These 2,500 individuals have been going about their task from February 2019 without any fanfare. That their activity has the blessings of the Bharatiya Janata Party is evident from BJP nation President Amit Anilchandra Shah deputing two senior BJP leaders to coordinate with this group.

 

Each day the 'Friends of Modi' telephone Indian voters in their native towns or villages and request them to consider voting for Modi. The callers not only make a personal appeal, but also get the voters's feedback, which is passed on to the BJP for consideration.

This world group has been given 15 to 20 major political points to focus on, both in their mother tongue as well as in English, to make a pitch for the government's achievements.

The Modi supporters also populate WhatsApp groups with 30-second videos and memes that are made abroad in multiple Indian languages, highlighting the Narendra Damodardas Modi government's policies and performance.

What helps in their propagation is that the restriction on WhatsApp forwards, of not more than 5 each time, applies only in India and not in the countries where the Friends of Modi is active.

The BJP also has the database of major beneficiaries of government schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana, direct bank transfers, etc and they are also being targeted to seek votes for Modi.

The BJP expects this exercise to boost its vote count by at least one per cent.

As they say, every vote counts.

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R Rajagopalan in New Delhi
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