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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
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NRIs, professionals pitch in to campaign, vote for BJP

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 01, 2013
First Published: 00:50 IST(1/11/2013) | Last Updated: 01:47 IST(1/11/2013)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun drawing from its bank of non-resident Indian (NRI) supporters to help it sail through the Delhi assembly elections.



A number of them have begun pitching through the social media to make the party more attractive to voters. So inspired are many of them that they are contemplating even coming down to Delhi to vote in the December 4 elections.

The BJP is facing stiff competition from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the social media. That is why it had created a Samvad cell that has been working round-the-clock to develop new strategies to reach out to the voters through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
 
A number of the volunteers in the Samvad cell are NRIs and most of them are professionals who are volunteering for two-three hours after work and on weekends for the party. Most of these volunteers are in raptures about the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“There is no place for fake secularism that the Congress and AAP have been practising. I have been brought up in Delhi but when I visited the city in 2011, I realised how bad a condition it was in. Only Modiji, who has a clear vision, can help us achieve development. I then decided to help the BJP by involving myself in its social media campaign and circulating cartoon strips, etc., to convey the message,” said 40-year-old Raja Sharma, a management consultant who works in Sydney, Australia.

“I’ve also decided to be in Delhi before the elections, so that I can campaign for the party and cast my vote,” he added.

Sharma is one of the many NRIs who have pledged support to the BJP and have promised to be in Delhi for campaigning and voting.

“I head the BJP team in London. We always wanted to contribute to the society and the country. The social medium has helped us achieved that. We are sure the BJP will win the Delhi elections. We are planning to come here to vote too,” said 40-year-old Jayesh Patel (40), another managing consultant who has a team of 20 people working for the BJP on its social media campaign.

There are more than 1,000 e-volunteers working with the cell and reaching out to lakhs of techno-savvy people every day. Many of them are volunteering for two to three hours daily, besides time on the weekends.

“I had visited a few countries some time back and persuaded a number of people to understand the vision and ethos of the party. Distance was a huge issue, which is where the social media has been very effective. Many have even told us that they would be coming to Delhi by the end of November as every vote counts,” said Khemchand Sharma, 33, a software architect working in a leading MNC and convenor of the Samvad cell.

“Modiji is also very active on the social media and after his rally in Delhi, the number of volunteers has increased,” he added.

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