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BJP’s US friends support its election efforts with prayers, calls to India to boost voter turnout

Dallas, May 15 (IANS) As people of Indian descent in the US who are shut out from voting observe India’s parliamentary elections with interest, supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been working to mobilize voter turnout back home and direct it to the party that aligns with their ideology — while invoking divine blessings.

The Overseas Friends of BJP-USA (‘OFBJP-USA’) has organized webinars with 32 BJP candidates from across India and is asking members and supporters to call their relatives and acquaintances back home to ensure they go out and vote — and for the BJP — the President of the organization told IANS here in a recent interview here.

The friends have also held yagnas, the ritual offering to divinity for blessings, in temples at eight places across the US to bring help from the heavens to the BJP in the elections, he said.

He clarified that the yagnas were conducted by individuals supporting the BJP and not by the temples.

In addition, he said, ‘OFBJP-USA’ also organized car rallies in four places as of May beginning, to rouse interest in the elections, he added.

The calls to voters in India is to “make sure that they understand the importance of the elections, that it’s absolutely imperative to go out and vote (for the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi) because that’s the future of India,” he said.

“The elections are the biggest celebration of democracy,” he added.

He said that the group was interested in getting the message of Prime Minister Modi’s development story to the voters of the South, East, and the Northeast.

Dasgupta said that the webinars are for “spreading the word, the awareness, out here in the US and also in India” and bringing in some of the candidates for “learning from them, and to see how we can assist them or how we can help them”.

BJP Lok Sabha member and former West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh recontesting from Bardhaman-Durgapur, and candidates K. Annamalai contesting from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and Madhavi Latha, an actress contesting from Hyderabad, were among those who participated in the webinars, he added.

OFBJP-USA Vice-President Rudra Talukdar said that the organization is for anybody who supports BJP and is open to all.

Dasgupta added the organization has more than 500 dues-paying registered members and tens of thousands of supporters.

He emphasized that the OFBJP-USA, which is a registered, tax-exempted non-profit organization, is not a unit of the BJP or its agent.

“We are friends, we do share the ideology, what is called integral humanism, integral humanity,” Dasgupta said.

“We share ideology with them. We do talk with them. We do exchange views. But at the same time, you know, we are an organization based in the US, we follow US laws,” he added.

The calls to India are done individually by supporters using their personal touch and the organization does not use any mass dialers or phone lists, he said.

Robocalls are absolutely out, he added.

Another group that also calls itself Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party (USA) posted on Facebook that it had organized last month “Modi ka Parivar” – Family of Modi – marches in New York, Hollywood, Detroit and Chicago with photographs of the events.

The New Jeresy-based group that was active during the 2019 elections did not reply to e-mailed requests for information.

Dasgupta asserted that his organization had registered its name and logo with the US Patent and Trademark Office and, therefore, it alone could use the name.

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