Lok Sabha Election

When the Indian election campaign rolls in the United Kingdom

The Indian Overseas Congress is set to hold car rallies across parts of the U.K. Photo: Twitter/@INCOverseas

The Indian Overseas Congress is set to hold car rallies across parts of the U.K. Photo: Twitter/@INCOverseas

Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the overseas wings of the main political parties have swung into action to garner support from the sizeable Indian diaspora in the U.K.

The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) , and the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) are set to hold car rallies across parts of the U.K. apart from other events.

The OFBJP has already kicked off events, including a motorcycle rally earlier this week, while car rallies will take place across the U.K. including in Birmingham, Glasgow and central London on Saturday, with a convoy of over 100 cars.

In early April, a “flash mob” event is planned for central London.

Later that month, the outfit has planned a “call for Modi,” to encourage members of the diaspora to call to friends and family in India to encourage them to support the Prime Minister.

“We have 2,700 people who have registered to say they may want to travel to India to campaign for the Prime Minister,” says the organisation’s U.K. head Kuldeep Shekhawa.

He added that the OFBJP’s awareness raising campaign would focus on development, corruption-less administration and “image building of the country.”

Diaspora areas

The IOC is set to hold a roadshow that will pass through some of the major Indian diaspora areas around London, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry and Slough, Sudhakar Rangula, an IOC U.K. spokesperson said.

Other events are set to take place at the various U.K. branches of the organisation, while the student wing is set to hold events of its own.

“Our message will be around the failures of the government and all the promises that were made but not delivered on…not least the threat to our democracy, Mr Rangula said.

With around 1.4 million — including British born Indians and Indian citizens — the British Indian diaspora is the largest in Europe, and among the most wealthy and influential globally. Many occupy senior positions across sectors from politics to business, making it an important focus area in the campaign. Both party leaders have visited the UK in the past year: during a visit to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit and bilateral meetings, Modi attended a large diaspora event in central London, while Rahul Gandhi visited in August, speaking at a diaspora event in West London.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 3:15:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/when-the-indian-election-campaign-rolls-in-the-united-kingdom/article26525002.ece