Metro Vancouver’s Indo-Canadians taking active roles in India’s election

Published: May 8, 2014

Picture 1 of 4

Members of AAP Canada gather in Surrey, B.C. Submitted photo/Facebook.


As the world’s largest election heads into its final phase in India, Surrey’s Gurpal Dhillon will be burning the midnight oil to give one “last big push” in his campaign for the country’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

As a member of AAP Canada — made up of thousands of Indo-Canadians — Dhillon has spent months fundraising and campaigning for the party locally and internationally.

He’s set up booths at the Vancouver and Surrey Vaisakhi parades and dedicated many evenings to “call India campaigns,” in which he phones Indian residences to promote the party’s anti-corruption platform.

Supporters in Canada alone have raised about $200,000; according to the party’s website, Canada is one of the top five donor countries.

And with the six-week long election drawing to a close Monday, Dhillon and fellow AAP Canada members will be pulling some all-nighters for “call India campaigns.”

“We are just going to make our last big push,” Dhillon told Vancouver Desi before he settled into the makeshift call centre in Surrey.

Dhillon is one of many Indians overseas offering support to an Indian political party.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — whose leader Narendra Modi appears poised to win the election, taking out the Congress Party which has been in power for the past decade — has its Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), which includes about 700 British Columbians, such as Vancouver’s Aditya Tawatia.

Tawatia’s role with OFBJP is “about raising awareness,” so — much like Dhillon — he reaches out to Indian families to talk about the party and encourage them to vote BJP.

“India’s ruling party for the past decade — the Congress Party — has miserably failed,” said Tawatia. “The corruption issue, the foreign policy — all those issues have put Indians down.”

Tawatia said India needs a leader “who can lead — who has the politics, who has the vision and who can implement and deliver to the people, and Mr. Modi is all about that.”

While both Dhillon and Tawatia are a world away from the ongoing election — having immigrated to Canada decades ago — they still feel tied to their home country’s politics.

“All of us (AAP Canada members) were born in India and we spent quite a number of years in India prior to coming to Canada,” said Dhillon. “We know what difficulties there are, we know what’s wrong over there.”

It wasn’t until the AAP was created within the last year or so that he fully supported a party.

“Majority parties in India were either too corrupt or too communal for our liking and finally we found an alternative,” he said, touting the party’s progressive and transparent agenda.

Similarly, Tawatia sees it as his “duty” to stay connected.

“I will always be a proud Canadian, but at the same time I will always be Indo-Canadian,” he said.

It’s not just those associated with the parties who are following the Indian election, though.

Sunil Bhatia, born and raised in Delhi and now the director of the Victoria-based India Canada Cultural Association, has also been following the polls.

“You have an affiliation so you want to see what’s happening over there, what the economic impact is going to be for individual candidates, who’s going to come in,” he said, adding he’s also interested to see how the country’s new ruler will impact foreign trade and relations, especially with Canada.

India’s polling booths close Monday, after the country’s 814 million eligible voters have finally cast their ballots. Results are expected to be announced May 16.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


common krait

Man bites, kills poisonous snake slithering towards him in bed

VANCOUVER DESI In a shocking incident, an Indian man bit and killed a venomous snake in his bed, according to the Daily Telegraph. Rai Singh, from…
Continue Reading »

teen music video

Vancouver teen’s music video gets over 300k views in less than a week

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver teen and aspiring musician Sid Bhullar has released his third music video online  – and within one week he’s already surpassed 300,000…
Continue Reading »

Unruly passenger tied to his seat

Drunk Air India passenger tied to his seat on flight after attacking people onboard, tearing clothes of two pursers

VANCOUVER DESI An Air India passenger, who went wild after a few drinks and allegedly tore the clothes of two pursers and bit some fellow…
Continue Reading »


teen music video

Vancouver teen’s music video gets over 300k views in less than a week

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver teen and aspiring musician Sid Bhullar has released his third music video online  – and within one week he’s already surpassed 300,000…
Continue Reading »

Best polio vaccine? Oral and injectable, used in tandem, new study says

By Helen Branswell THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — For decades scientists have debated whether injectable or oral polio vaccine is the best option for trying…
Continue Reading »


B.C.’s top Mountie says RCMP budget cuts won’t slow fight against gangs

VANCOUVER DESI The province’s top Mountie maintains budget cuts to the B.C. RCMP will not affect the force’s commitment to taking down gangs, though two…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »


Eight-year-old Indian boy’s swollen hands are larger than his head

VANCOUVER DESI Kaleem, an eight-year-old Indian boy suffering from a mystery condition has puzzled doctors after his hands swelled to giant proportions and are larger…
Continue Reading »


Doctors remove unborn child’s skeleton from woman’s womb after 36 years

VANCOUVER DESI In an unusual surgery, doctors in India removed the skeleton of an unborn baby from its mother’s womb after 36 years, the Press…
Continue Reading »


Turbaned Sikhs will not be allowed to ride motorbike without a helmet in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she won’t allow for turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. In…
Continue Reading »

Annu Gaidhu

Mississauga beauty Annu Gaidhu crowned Miss India Canada (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Mississauga’s Annu Gaidhu was crowned Miss India-Canada at the 24th annual pageant in Toronto Saturday evening. The 23-year-old yoga instructor and aspiring child…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

desi boobs-actress-celebrity

Bollywood actress from Britain still finds time to help her parents at their corner shop (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI British actress Geeta Basra, who made a name for herself in Bollywood with three major films, still helps her parents at their local…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood stunt man

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar takes up the ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar took on the ALS ice bucket challenge in true stuntman style – with 11 buckets of ice water….
Continue Reading »


Aamir Khan dropped pants for ‘PK’, wonders would Salman Khan follow suit?

IANS Mumbai – It seems Aamir Khan is in the mood to rag his friend and colleague Salman Khan! The former dropped his pants for…
Continue Reading »