(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Tens of thousands of expatriates stay glued to tv as results trickle in and erupt in joy or heave a sigh as prospects of favourites fluctuate.
members of the kerala muslim cultural centre in dubai watch the live telecast of the counting of votes in the indian parliamentary elections on friday. — kt photos by juidin bernarrd
breaking the routine of a friday holiday in the uae the majority of the over two million indian expatriates rose early from the weekend slumber to know what their home country has decided in its 16th general elections the results of which trickled in as early as 6.30am here.
otherwise known to get glued on to the television sets in large numbers when their country is at crossroads in international cricket events people from many indian states this time tuned in to various national and local channels from india to know which way the world’s largest democracy is taking in politics and governance.
tens of thousands of indians spent a politically agile day as results came out with historic changes that ended a decade-long united progressive alliance (upa) government.
the weekend holiday came as a boon to the politically savvy as they could track the election results almost vote-by-vote through electronic media. they also went viral on social networking sites about the changing political scenarios back home.
the bharatiya janata party-led national democratic alliance’s clear majority which surpassed the exit polls saw the party’s loyalists in the uae starting the celebrations within a couple of hours after the final declaration of the results started coming out.
laddoos for modi win
though the number of nda supporters in the uae is substantially less as compared to that of the upa the bjp loyalists made the party’s presence felt in labour camps and places of worship by distributing sweets in celebrations.
narendra modi fans in dubai celebrate the victory of the national democratic alliance.
as reported by khaleej times on friday a whopping 75000 laddoos were ordered to celebrate the anticipated victory of the party and its prime ministerial candidate narendra modi. at least 50000 laddoos were distributed in the name of modi in dubai. several bjp supporters gathered at the bur dubai home of padmakumar patni who hails from modi’s state of gujarat to watch the results and celebrate the much-anticipated success of the party.
“we hosted more than 60 people from early morning till 3pm today. our friends came from all emirates and there were women and children as well” patni told khaleej times.
the 62-year-old’s family was joined by the young and old generation of indians to make the historic day even more memorable. dozens of people majority of whom hail from gujarat maharashtra uttar pradesh rajasthan kerala and tamil nadu waved bjp flags inside the home and sported caps in party’s colour with modi’s name written on them.
cheering for the party candidates’ win escalated when modi’s huge success in both vadodara and varanasi became clear. claps and hugs followed when a saffron wave swept the length and breadth of india lifting the bjp to its highest-ever tally and leaving congress in tatters.
“all of us are extremely happy and excited. modi is our hero and he is the nation’s hero today” said patni who started the day with a visit to the temple to seek blessings for his favourite leader.
groups glued to tv
an even larger group of indians had gathered at the naif office of the kerala muslim cultural centre which had hit headlines by chartering a flight to send about 180 members to exercise their voting rights in kerala.
the kmcc dubai had also bought some 2000 laddoos anticipating the victory of the united democratic front in kerala. more than 500 members were present at the two halls in the kmcc office when they finally heaved a sigh of relief about the congress-led udf winning a majority in their home state. although the major debacle that the upa suffered at the centre dimmed their exhilaration the success of indian union muslim league leaders e. ahmed and e.t. mohammed basheer gave them reasons to smile. the revelation that the bjp once again failed to open an account in the state after the anxious moments of final battle in the state capital gave them much solace.
“we celebrated the success of our leaders and the udf in kerala. but we are upset about what happened at the centre” said p. k. anwar naha president of dubai kmcc. he attributed the debacle of the congress to the entry of arvind kejriwal’ aam aadmi party which triggered a massive protest against the corruption cases involving congress leaders “even though they were exposed only because of the right to information act passed by the upa”.
the situation was almost the same at the indian association in sharjah where the majority of the members back the upa. big screen television sets were arranged for the members to watch the election results together. however the celebrations were limited to cheer the success of the udf in kerala the home state of the majority of the members of the largest expatriate association of indians here.
workers watching the election results at their accommodation in muhaisinah dubai.— kt photo by shihab
while families and executive bachelors spent the day with a larger circle of politically conscious friends on friday various labour accommodation clusters in the uae also witnessed groups of workers watching the channels to keep themselves updated about their country’s mandate.
expats expect online voting rights price control and better ties with region
irrespective of their political allegiance the landslide victory of the bjp-led nda has prompted the indian expatriates in the uae to expect a stable government at the centre to bring in major changes in governance that will be of benefit to them as well.
speaking to khaleej times many expatriates said their long-pending demands could now be revived with the new government and hoped that a new minister will bring in more financial power to the ministry of overseas indian affairs (moia) to support the migrant workers.
k. kumar convener of the indian community welfare committee said the fact that one single party has won the majority gives hopes for more stability and better economic policies which will also give a bigger share to address the problems of indian labourers in the region.
“the pravasi bharatiya divas was launched during the last tenure of the nda government” he pointed out.
“i hope that they will now appoint a suitable minister who can realise the real problems of and connect with the overseas indians especially the expatriates in the gulf countries.”
padmakumar patni bjp supporter in dubai said the pro-technology government of modi could end the long-pending demand of nris to exercise their voting rights from abroad. “i hope the new government will make legislation to approve online voting which will make the election process more democratic and less expensive.”
other demands that he put forward for the new government included employment insurance coverage for overseas workers strong relations with the arab region and all neighbouring countries of india. “education and employment are the foundation stones for the development of the nation and i am sure the modi government will give emphasis on that.”
deepika sajnani became the voice of the indian women when she said better education and a safer society for women were the main things that they are expecting from the government. “we no longer want our country’s name to be spoiled due to the atrocities against women. i hope the new government will make tougher laws and revamp the judicial system to implement them faster to curtail crimes against women.”
since the nda had enough majority to make decisions without any pressure social worker k. v. shamsudheen said modi would make visible changes immediately in commodity price control poverty alleviation infrastructure development foreign investment as well as control of terrorism and corruption.
“we nris kept on presenting to the upa government our grievances but we never got any result” said shamsudheen who is also the chairman of pravasi bandhu welfare trust.
“the indian diaspora remitted more than 70 billion last financial year. our contribution is equal to 2.5 times of the fdi 25 per cent of the exports and 6 per cent of the gdp. the exporters and foreign direct investors are getting many concessions and special treatment for bringing foreign currency to the country. indian diaspora had given massive support to modi so i am sure that he will try to address our problems” he said.
p.k. anwar naha president of dubai kmcc said the modi government’s policy related to the arab region was something he would watch with anxiety. “one main concern is about india having closer relations with israel which would not be good for its relations with arab countries. also we can mostly expect a new face as the minister of overseas indian affairs. we will have to wait and see what more the new minister can do for the welfare of the indian expatriates especially the labour class.”— sajila?khaleejtimes.com
vijay yadav from uttar pradesh was among a group of workers watching the election results in a labour accommodation in muhaisna. though he was not sure how exactly the expatriate labourers would benefit from a change in government in india yadav was happy about modi’s win in his home state which was a milestone in the country’s political destiny.
a security guard from vishakhapatnam in andhra pradesh ramakrishna reddy says it’s a good day for him and his people back home because everyone wanted a “change in rajneeti (politics)”. his family he says was fed up of rising prices. the prices of rice and petrol and diesel were the reason for their change of heart. this is the first time ever he says that his family had not voted for the congress.
“what to do” he says “when we can’t even buy vegetables and dal?” reddy says he is very happy and hopeful that the telugu desam party’s alliance with modi will be good for the people of his home state.
at the india club all indicators pointed towards modi support. everyone from the media-shy receptionist to people who said they’re “not that much into politics” (sic) believed the coming of the new order was a much-needed change. manoj e. k. who works for the dubai government and has been in the uae for 18 years likened the next pm of india to his highness shaikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum vice-president and prime minister of the uae and ruler of dubai. “they’re both visionaries” he believes and “people want a ruler with a vision and who will change things”.
the youngsters in schools seem to be disinclined to comment on the country’s change in government with multiple groups of teenagers some in uniform unabashedly declaring “i have no idea...” or “actually we haven’t watched tv today..”
jayaram k. p. from thiruvananthampuram kerala has been in the construction sector in dubai for 38 years. he shares his evident delight at the bjp win saying “enough was enough – the congress looted the country like anything. i lost 180 crores (18 million) in india” he says.
“i made the money in saudi (arabia) and i invested in india and the congress looted me!”
while jayaram doesn’t share details of exactly how that happened he says now the bjp government will protect and reward the investments of expats in their country and not just pander after “foreigners making foreign investment”.
as for the fear of modi naysayers that the country will now be run under the rashtriya swayamsevak sangh (rss) and hindutva influences jayaram is one man who believes otherwise. “no no no now the muslims will come to understand bjp and will see how good the country will run. there is nothing to fear.” he says he wrote a letter to modi on may 12 “congratulating him on his predicted win of 282 seats but he has done much better than we expected”.