Indian-Americans certain BJP will ride back to power under PM Modi

New Delhi, March 2 – As they keenly wait for the grand electoral spectacle to unfold in their country of origin, most Indian-Americans say they are certain that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will storm back to power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Community leaders say that elaborate planning and strategising by the party leaders and supporters in the US are already underway to target a record 400 plus seats in the biggest democratic exercise of 2024.

Parveen Chopra, founder of New York-based spirituality website, ALotusInTheMud.com, told IANS that people in the US see PM Modi as a “strong, transformational leader” under whom India’s position in world affairs has immensely improved.

“My sense is that Indians in America are certain that BJP will come back to power under PM Modi. Those critical of him have also resigned to the fact that there is no stopping him, as the INDIA bloc is already fracturing and is not up to the fight in the upcoming general election,” said Chopra.

A 2022 Indian-American Attitudes Survey by Carnegie Endowment mentioned BJP as the most popular political party among Indian Americans with a third of respondents favouring the ruling party and just 12 per cent identifying with the Congress.

Further, it said that nearly half of all Indian Americans approve of PM Modi’s performance as prime minister with the support greatest among the Republicans and the Hindus.

A key element of India’s foreign policy after 2014 has been its significant outreach to the diaspora, notably in the US where the 4.4 million-strong community has become the second-largest immigrant group.

During his successive visits to the US from 2104 to 2023, the Prime Minister has actively engaged with the community, acknowledging their steady rise in America’s economic, political, and social spheres and their significance in India’s growth story.

Gobind Munjal, National President of the Association of Indians in America (AIA), told IANS that India has achieved a lot under PM Modi and that the US-India relationship has reached new heights, especially after the leader’s June 2023 visit.

“Under Narendra Modi’s regime, the global respect for India and Indians living abroad has gone up substantially. For NRIs, the Indian identity has become more respectful and non-residents have started feeling proud to be Indians,” Munjal said in an email interview.

Founded in August 1967, the AIA claims to be the oldest association of Asian Indians in America and says that it represents the “hopes and aspirations of those immigrants who are united by their common bond of Indian Heritage and American Commitment”.

The reasons for PM Modi’s popularity are not too far to seek according to the community and can be seen in the progress that India has made in the last years across the spectrum.

“PM Modi’s proactive approach to diplomacy and economic reforms has bolstered India’s image as a dynamic and forward-thinking nation, poised for sustainable growth and development,” Alok Kumar, Chairman of Bihar Foundation, USA, told IANS.

Lauding the country’s foreign policy, Kumar said that India has exhibited robust diplomatic prowess which is “exemplified by its handling of crises such as the Qatar situation and its commendable performance in evacuating citizens from war zones, surpassing even the efforts of developed nations”.

Citing the success of the Chandrayaan Mission and India’s G20 presidency, both Kumar and Munjal added that India has achieved a lot under the present regime.

“The Indian economy is expected to become the third largest in the world in the next three years with a GDP of USD 5 trillion from the current USD 3.7 trillion. Indian Stock market is booming and if Narendra Modi gets elected again as Prime minister, which he will, India can aspire to become a USD 7 Trillion economy in the next 10 years,” Munjal said.

He hoped that PM Modi would continue to lead “Bharat” to the same old glory, which it once enjoyed when it was called the “Sone Ki Chiriya” (golden bird).

Meanwhile, the NRI community hopes that after the 2024 elections, some of its concerns will be addressed by the party that ascends to power.

Chopra told IANS that as an Indian-American and as a community journalist, many NRIs have reached out to him with concerns regarding online voting and their properties in India.

As of now, an Indian national living abroad has to be physically present on the day of the election at the polling station in his constituency along with his passport and there is no provision for voting via post or online, or voting through Indian Missions abroad.

He also said that NRIs having properties in India want protection against those who illegally occupy their house and want quick adjudication of such disputes.

(Meenakshi Iyer can be reached at [email protected])

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