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Nearly 5,000 volunteers from UK likely to campaign for BJP in 2019 LS polls

Many supporters of the BJP were active in campaigning for the 2014 elections, including nearly 500 volunteers who travelled to India. The Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) says the involvement of supporters from the UK is likely to increase in the forthcoming elections.

lok sabha elections Updated: Jan 31, 2019 20:02 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
UK,BJP,PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he leaves after addressing the Indian community at Wembley stadium in London during his 2015 visit to the UK. (File Photo)(PTI)

Nearly 5,000 volunteers from the UK are likely to travel to India to join the BJP’s campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, while others have been enlisted to make calls back home to support Narendra Modi as prime minister again.

Britain has a considerable presence of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), which has been functioning since 1966. Its structure, principles and activities are similar to those of the RSS, whose head, Mohan Bhagwat, attended a ‘mahashibir’ in Luton in August 2016 to mark 50 years of its existence.

Many supporters of the BJP were active in campaigning for the 2014 elections, including nearly 500 volunteers who travelled to India. The Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) says the involvement of supporters from the UK is likely to increase in the forthcoming elections.

Kuldip Singh Shekhawat, president of OFBJP, said: “At least 1,000 volunteers – many of them doctors, IT professionals, lawyers – have already registered with us to travel and join campaign efforts in India. They will all do so at their own expense”.

“Besides, many will participate in a project to calls friends and family in India and urge them to vote for Modi and BJP again. They will call voters in their states of origin as well as in others. The response from our disapora has been very enthusiastic”.

In 2014, OFBJP supporters had organised several events in the UK, including ‘Chai pe Charcha with Namo’ in Harrow. The support for the BJP and Modi in the diaspora was reflected in the packed audience at the Wembley Stadium during the prime minister’s visit in November 2015.

Suresh Mangalagiri, campaign coordinator of the OFBJP, added: “So far 1,000 volunteers have registered, we are aiming for 5,000. A training camp and workshops have been held since December for ‘Modi Mission 2019’, with representation from all parts of the UK, including women.”

“Our social media teams here will target states and constituencies where the BJP is weaker, by making regular calls. In 2014, about 500 volunteers went to India to campaign, this time many more will go,” he added.

Mangalagiri said the efforts were being coordinated in the UK and other countries by the BJP functionary in-charge of overseas affairs, Vijay Chauthaiwale. The UK input will be one of the largest from outside India, he added.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 20:02 IST

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