Non-resident Indians with eastern Uttar Pradesh roots are taking a keen interest in the Lok Sabha elections this time. They are calling up relatives in Allahabad and Varanasi frequently to get latest updates besides holding 'chai' parties in London and Cambridge to discuss the candidates best suited for the job of prime minister.
"We are holding tea parties similar to that of Bharatiya Janata Party to discuss issues like corruption and communalism and trying to decide which candidate can take up these issues with an iron hand," said retired finance officer Hriday Pandey.
Talking to HT from Cambridge where he settled 40 years ago, Pandey said despite living in the United Kingdom for so many years his heart lies in Baikabagh locality of Allahabad where he spent his childhood in a bungalow.
"I regularly call people in my mohalla and get the pulse of the election in my hometown. I have urged them to go out in large numbers to vote for the right, secular candidate," he said.
Pandey loves to call himself an ambassador of Hindustan in the UK. He spends about two hours a day reading Indian newspapers online. "I also see Indian TV news channels. But, whenever there is panel discussion all the 'netas' tend to speak at the same time. It is quite irritating at times. This will never be allowed on British TV," he added.
Pandey's wife Geeta, an alumnus of Allahabad University, also wants 'janmbhoomi' India - she calls England her 'karmbhoomi' - to be free of corruption and poverty. "The corrupt politicians, babus and businessmen need to be hauled before special fast track courts, and given stiff jail sentences and their ill-gotten wealth confiscated. I want a good incorruptible leader to become the PM," she said.
US Vajpeyi, a well-known physician of Allahabad now settled in London, is also working hard to mobilise Indians to elect an incorruptible leader. "I have a website called Freedom for Indians. We enlighten Indians about the real issue that need to be tackled and why they need to elect a candidate with a clean image. There are so many communal issues haunting India," he said.
Vajpeyi is actively involved in restoring the glory of Dhara Devi in Uttarakhand and is fighting a silent battle for setting up the temple at its original site.