New Delhi, January 6, 2014: Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh promised voting rights and better investment opportunities to Non-Resident Indians at a function organised by the Overseas Friends of BJP at the party headquarters here on Monday.
Reaching out to the NRI community ahead of the 2014 general election, Mr. Singh promised it that if the BJP came to power the party would create conditions to facilitate FDI by NRIs and float bonds that would allow them to invest in the manufacturing sector.
Even as it said it was reluctant to accept “funds” from foreign nationals, the BJP pulled out all the stops to elicit NRI support for its “Mission 272+”.
The mood was celebratory at the congregation, as NRIs and visitors, including the former Prime Minister of Fiji, Mahendra Chaudhary, and England’s Lord Rajinder Paul Loomba, listened to the BJP leadership urging it to forge resources to help “Narendra Modi become PM.”
The Aam Aadmi Party’s success story, buttressed by overseas support, in the Delhi Assembly elections is not lost on the BJP. But, it declared, it was not reaching out for funding, but for support. “We are not doing this for money, I personally think raising funds from abroad is not taboo, but we are not collecting money from PIOs,” said BJP overseas affairs convener Vijay Jolly.
Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the BJP accepts funds only from those who hold an Indian passport, pay through cheque and have an account in an Indian bank.
Indians living abroad are not a new constituency for the BJP, but it wants to sharpen its campaign to reach out like the AAP had done. Apart from Rs. 6 crore that came from foreign contributions, the AAP benefited from canvassing on social media, spearheaded by Indians abroad. “The BJP reaches out on the promise of investment opportunities and enterprise, unlike the AAP which is seeking change,” said sociologist Dipankar Gupta.