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US Gujaratis begin ad blitz for Modi

December 9, 2007, 11:49 PM IST Politics Politics
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New Jersey: Narendra Modi may not be allowed to travel to the US, but sections of Gujarati community there have started a multimedia ad blitz on the Chief Minister’s behalf a few days ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections 2007. Television, radio, print ads, YouTube clips, ringtones and a website are all part of a campaign for the Assembly elections in Gujarat. But this campaign is being undertaken not in India, but from the United States. A group called Support Gujarat is working towards getting Narendra Modi re-elected as the Chief Minister of the state. A major focal point of their campaign is to get the Gujaratis in America to call home and get their friends and relatives in the state to turn out in large numbers for BJP candidates. “That is one of the main objectives — to call out to the people back in Gujarat, to go out to vote for the right government, for the development of Gujarat, for a clean Gujarat, for a clean government,” says a Support Gujarat volunteer, Sunil Nayak. Campaign volunteers say they are impressed with the economic progress in Gujarat during Modi's tenure. However, other Indian-Americans, mindful of the post-Godhra riots in the state, find this campaign disturbing. “I find it very disheartening to see Gujarat run a pro-Modi campaign. It's very divisive for the Indian-American community,” says a board member of the Indian Muslim Council USA, Shaheen Khateeb. The views of people belonging to Indian-American community may differ but the fact remains that these Assembly elections in Gujarat have truly captured the attention of not only the Gujarati community in the US but that of many Indian-Americans as well While most Americans are focused on the US presidential primaries coming up in January, for the Gujarati community in the United States the election that really seems to matter right now is the one due in their home state.