Pramod Reddy, an NRI from Dallas campaigns in his native Parigi constituency for Congress party
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Telangana’s battleground in this election is not confined to registered voters but those settled across the world but still connected to the roots in Telangana.
Hundreds of non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the Telangana region are now in the battleground experiencing the high octane campaigning while batting for the political parties they are emotionally associated with or candidates who are either their relatives or friends.
What made them cross two continents to come to Telangana leaving their work and businesses behind? The emotional connect with the motherland is the main reason but those opposing the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) are annoyed with the government for a variety of reasons.
Pramod Reddy Pashula, a software engineer from Dallas, USA, is campaigning in Parigi and Kodangal constituencies in favour of T. Rammohan Reddy and A. Revanth Reddy respectively and his contention is the ‘dictatorship’ in the BRS rule. “I couldn’t digest people fearing police cases for raising their voice or political leaders repeatedly put under house arrest. It boils me to the fact that I couldn’t see such ‘dictatorial Telangana’ and decided to do my mite,” he argued.
There are about 10 other NRIs from Dallas who are campaigning in different parts of the State, mostly in their native villages and constituencies. “We thought it is our duty to engage people and explain how Telangana will become a police state if BRS continues,” Mr. Pramod Reddy argues.
There are numerous BRS supporters who have landed from different countries and campaigning for Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR). “Without him Telangana wouldn’t have been possible and his policies changed the face of Telangana. We need to give him a third term,” says Anil Kurmachalam, the founder of the BRS U.K. chapter, who hails from Karimnagar district.
Anil Kurmachalam, BRS UK chapter founder campaigns for the BRS party along with other NRIs.
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Anil is coordinating with hundreds of NRIs on the ground on logistics and the campaign style. The BRS supporters’ campaign focus is on ‘Etlunde Telangana Etlaina Telangana’ (How Telangana was and how Telangana is). “Mr. KCR is the most trusted face and he needs to get the third term to push the State into forward gear permanently,” says Anil.
The BJP supporters, the most vibrant players on social media, are on the ground this time. Prashanthi Nagireddy, a software professional from Detroit, firmly believes being physically distant from the homeland doesn’t mean they have to be disconnected or disinterested in its affairs.
She spent a lot of time campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Mahbubnagar. “I strongly believe in encouraging and supporting young leaders in Indian politics, as they bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a strong drive for positive change,” she said as she seeks support for A.P. Mithun Kumar Reddy, a youngster in the political fray for the first time, in Mahabubnagar constituency. BJP supporters like her are active in Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts where the BJP eyes a few seats.
Prashanthi Nagireddy, a software professional from Detroit is campaigning for BJP candidate in Mahbubnagar.
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The AIMIM is not at a distance when seeking support from the diaspora, most of whom are from Gulf countries. Those who yield considerable clout in their respective constituencies have come down to campaign, while others are using the social media handles to spread the good word for their party.
Though the majority of the NRIs are citizens in their respective countries and registered as voters there, they continue to have some influence on their families or villages. “People understand that we campaign out of passion and not for any gain. So they take our words seriously,” says Anil. Similar feelings are echoed by Mr. Pramod Reddy.
Will they make a difference to the outcome? Perception-wise, they can create an impact on people as they come here leaving behind their work, business, comforts and importantly their families.