90 PIOs on BJP’s guest list

As a reward for promoting the party in their respective countries

May 24, 2014 05:34 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:46 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Among the special guests invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday are about 90 Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), who for months laboured hard to promote the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial nominee in their countries.

These individuals, who are part of the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), ran campaigns on social media, tried to alter the image of the party and Mr. Modi overseas and encouraged their kin back in India to go out and vote. As a reward for their persistent canvassing, OFBJP members from the U.S., the U.K, Nepal, Nigeria, Kenya, the UAE, Vietnam, Norway, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Ukraine, Israel, Canada, Russia, Uganda and Thailand have been invited to the ceremony.

Much like the list of leaders who will make it to the Council of Ministers, the guest list is a well-guarded secret. There is, however, speculation that Mr. Modi’s mother Hiraben, his brothers and their families and social and cultural icons who have been the BJP’s supporters will be accorded a red carpet welcome.

While the BJP and Rashtrapati Bhavan officials remained tight-lipped on the ceremony, citing security concerns, social media remained abuzz with speculation on the guest list. Among the names of celebrities likely to attend are singer Lata Mangeshkar and actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth.

The Trinamool Congress, which has accepted the invitation, will be sending Mukul Roy and West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra to the event. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is likely to decline the invite as she is unhappy with the invitation sent to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The ceremony will be attended by heads of SAARC nations, foreign and Indian dignitaries. An invitation will also be sent to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

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