Last Updated: Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 12:39
Washington: Drumming up support for Narendra Modi, the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) is organising hundreds of "chai pe charcha" events in the US and calling up people in India to influence potential voters.
OFBJP US president, Chandrakant Patel, who has been travelling across the US to mobilise non-resident Indians for the "Modi for PM" campaign, claimed that such high level of enthusiasm has never been seen among Indian Americans in recent times.
Ahead of the elections, Patel said OFBJP and several other like-minded organisations have come together to organise "chai pe charcha" at more than 100 places in the United States. These meetings are being held even in smaller cities that have only a few hundred Indian Americans.
Some of the cities where such events are being held include Edison, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Parsippany, Mahwah in New Jersey, Washington DC metropolitan area, Tampa, Melbourne and Orlando in Florida, Houston and Dallas in Texas, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Memphis.
In the past three months, more than 100 "chai pe charcha" programmes have been already held.
"We need a government that provides voting rights for NRIs, improves consular services, promotes better investment opportunities and provides a secure feeling that every NRI looks forward to. They feel this is possible only with a BJP government," Patel said.
In addition to "Chai pe charcha" meetings, OFBJP has created two separate team of volunteers -- one for social media activity and the other to make phone calls to people in India.
In co-ordination with the BJP headquarters in New Delhi and also state units, Patel said every day OFBJP volunteers are making thousands of phone calls to potential voters requesting them to exercise their right to franchise in favour of BJP.
"Our feedback is that these phone calls are having a tremendous impact on Indian voters," Patel said.
Taking advantage of the presence of Indian Americans in the IT sector, Patel said OFBJP US is garnering a team for volunteers on the social media platform.
"These are cyber warriors who counter the negative campaign that rival parties are making against BJP and Modi," he said, but refrained from giving the number of volunteers who have signed up for its campaigns.
In addition, a small group of OFBJP volunteers and local community leaders are spending money from their own pockets to travel to India to campaign in person for the Lok Sabha polls.
Patel is himself travelling to his home state of Chhattisgarh. It is estimated that several hundred Modi supporters are travelling to India this time.
OFBJP-USA also has launched a fund-raising campaign, the money from which, Patel said, would be used to give advertisements in local print as well electronic media.
First Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 12:39