Bangalore: Democrat Barack Obama may not be enthusiastic about outsourcing work to India's Silicon Valley but that has not deterred a group of techies here from drumming up support for him in Tuesday's US elections.
The Barack Obama Bangalore Fan Club has not only been calling up, SMSing and emailing friends and relatives in the US to vote for him, it has also raised Rs.200,000 (about $4,100) from fellow Bangaloreans as contribution to his election fund!
Since August the Club has taken out 15 rallies, mostly on Saturdays and Sundays, carrying placards and distributing pamphlets to curious passers-by on why the US as well as India need Obama in the White House.
"Our road rallies were a huge hit among the public. Along with carrying placards and distributing pamphlets, our members also gave brief speeches to the audience who were eager to know more about Obama, his policies and how his win will benefit India," said Club president Balaji S Venkat.
"In our rallies we did not ask for funds from public. But money poured in from several quarters voluntarily. Some have donated a few hundred (rupees), others donated as much as a few thousands," said Venkat.
The Club is in touch with the Democratic party to pass on the contribution. "We are also in touch with our relatives in the US and urging them to vote for Obama."
Many are curious about what made the Club members back Obama and campaign on his behalf though the two are over 9,000 km apart.
"Obama is for change and so are we," Venkat replied.
"We believe in Obama and his policies. He is a dynamic and energetic leader and we are hopeful that his policies will have a positive impact in helping the world and India to tide over the current economic meltdown.
"The very idea of the campaign is to make the Bangaloreans realise that if Obama becomes the next president of the US, it will do good for the world. We want all denizens of the city to ask their friends and relatives out in the US to vote for Obama," added the software professional who works with a city-based IT company, Strategic Offshore Consulting Services Global.
The Club has only seven core members. But it has several volunteers, mostly IT engineers and management consultants, Venkat said.
Another member of the Club said, "We believe Obama will bring world peace and control the current financial crisis.
"Obama is clear about all the contentious election topics, including outsourcing and globalization. He has stated in his campaign that he would not put up walls around the US economy and follow a free trade policy."
In an interview last week, Obama said he would give "top priority" to build close strategic partnership with India under his presidency.
"His policies towards India are quite pragmatic and this will help in building close strategic partnership between the two nations. We are hopeful that if he gets elected, his tenure will give more rights to the Indian American community," said Venkat.
It seems several Bangaloreans have taken the Club's appeal seriously and have tried to convince their US-based friends and relatives to vote for Obama.
"After coming to know about Obama's policies through the Club I have asked my elder brother to vote for Obama and he has promised to do so," said Shruti Rakesh, an engineering student in the city.
Ranjan Sen, a software professional, said that he was influenced by the Club's initiative and had asked three of his friends settled in Florida to support Obama.
The Indian American community will play a major role in the US elections. The US is home to a 2.7 million strong Indian diaspora and 80,000 Indian students.
"We have seen what the Republicans did to the world during the Bush rule. Not only we saw the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the economic condition of the world has witnessed a downward curve because of bad policies of Bush's regime," said D. Jeevan Kumar, a professor of political science at Bangalore University.
"Thus it will be a smart decision for the Indian American community to vote for Obama," he said.