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.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

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.

lcahute@theprovince.com

twitter.com/larissacahute


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





Featured

dog-rock-tar

Video: Rescue story of a dog that fell into hot tar and turned into a rock

VANCOUVER DESI A team of animal rescuers in Western India spent two days working to free a helpless dog trapped in a pile of hot…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-crime

Surrey Sikh temple hit-and-run still a mystery after two years

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — Surrey Mounties believe somebody must have seen something that can help investigators solve a hit-and-run crash that happened two…
Continue Reading »

Pakistan

Kids sweatshirts made in Pakistan and sold at Kroger, Fred Meyer stores in the U.S. recalled for choking hazard

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — Nearly 8,000 children’s hoodies are being recalled because of a possible choking risk. No injuries have been reported, but…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Health Canada bans some drug imports from India; cites quality concerns

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Health Canada says it is banning imports of some medications and drug ingredients produced in India due to concerns about…
Continue Reading »

The cost of not controlling Ebola in Africa? Cases elsewhere, experts warn

By Helen Branswell THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — The revelation that a man with Ebola was diagnosed in a Texas hospital could be seen as…
Continue Reading »

Health Canada bans some drug imports from India; cites quality concerns

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Health Canada says it is banning imports of some medications and drug ingredients produced in India due to concerns about…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

body image-beauty-weight-control

Self-compassion leads to positive body image in women

IANS Toronto – Women who accept and tolerate their bodily imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their high body mass index…
Continue Reading »

British comedian John Oliver takes aim at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's U.S. visit on his HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube/Screengrab.

British comedian John Oliver again covers Indian politics in HBO show, takes aim at Modi’s U.S. visit (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI British comedian John Oliver has covered Indian politics yet again on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In this…
Continue Reading »

1INDIA_INTERNATIONAL_KITE_FESTIVAL_213745704

Last remaining family member of Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh dies in Toronto

IANS Chandigarh — The younger sister and last remaining blood relative of revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh has died in Canada, according to relatives in…
Continue Reading »

Komagata Maru

India honours 100-year anniversary of Komagata Maru with commemorative coins

IANS New Delhi — India on Monday released a set of special coins as part of a year-long centenary commemoration of the 1914 Komagata Maru…
Continue Reading »

Sandy Sidhu main.jpg

Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to appear in film at VIFF, but the actress is still waiting for her big break

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It took years for Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to admit that she was an aspiring actress. Enrolled at UBC for cell biology…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Shah Rukh Khan Deepika Padukone Bollywood sex

Shah Rukh Khan: My films are never male-oriented (w/gallery)

HINDUSTAN TIMES Shah Rukh Khan may be a name big enough to make a film a blockbuster on his own, but he says that his…
Continue Reading »

Sonam Kapoor

Gallery: 10 celebs who did not let diabetes rule their lives

VANCOUVER DESI Did you know Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor has been living with Diabetes from her teen years? And her Pakistani co-star in Khoobsurat — Fawad…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Indian court blocks 72 websites from streaming Bollywood movie ‘Bang Bang’

IANS New Delhi – The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed various internet and telecom service providers to block access to 72 websites hosting the yet-to-be…
Continue Reading »