eNarada, Bengaluru, October 15, 2016
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karnataka state unit went miles ahead of its rival parties by organising the first overseas video conference on Saturday. Interestingly, this conference was aimed at bringing the NRKs (non-resident Kannadigas) on board as BJP was gearing up for the 2018 Assembly elections.
Hundreds of NRKs especially those working in Silcon Valley, New Jersey and other areas assembled for a live chat with BJP’s state unit president BS Yeddyurappa and other leaders. This is said to be the first such tech savvy move by BJP in capturing the imagination of NRKs.
The video conference began with Yeddyurappa saying that his party was confident of forming the next government in state and he was committed to speed up the reforms. He also sought suggestions from the NRKs as to how he could achieve his dream of turning Karnataka into a dream destination.
The enthused NRKs too pitched in their ideas from asking BSY’s plan on developing Karnataka beyond Bengaluru to tackling sand and mining mafia. BSY took the questions sportively saying that Saturday’s meet was the first of the series of NRI meet which would be soon followed up by subsequent meets.
Mr Mahadev, who hails from Hubballi and has settled in California for the last two decades wanted to know the sectors where in NRIs could contribute to the growth. Replying to this, Mr Yeddyurappa said the NRIs were welcome to invest in power, roads, health and education. BSY also promised that if his party was voted to power, he would create a single window agency and his government would ensure that there won’t be much of hurdles or delays. Another NRI Sanjay kotkar, who is settled in New Jersey from the last 12 years wanted to know the BJP’s action plan of taking e-governance to gram panchayat level. BSY replied that Centre has been generously donating money for the empowerment in villages and the BJP would ensure that e-governance would be implemented at grassroots level. Mr Murthy from US who is originally from Uppinangadi said that BJP should take tough action against sand and mining mafia. Vinayak, who hails from Bidar wanted BSY’s action plan on promoting tourism and also improving other areas in Karnataka and looking beyond Bengaluru and BSY replied that he had planned a lot of initiatives during his tenure as Chief Minister and would continued to do so if he became CM again.
The video conference with NRIs was first popularised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. As Mr Modi, was initially denied a US visa since 2005, he used the opportunity to reach out to the NRIs through video conferences. Then, the events to hear Modi were held in New York; Edison, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Riverside, Los Angeles-Norwalk, Placentia and Fremont (Silicon Valley), California, Chicago, Rolling Meadows and Bloomington, Illinois; Minneapolis-Edina, Minnesota; Indianapolis and Merrillville, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Baltimore, Maryland. Since then, the video conferences to tap the NRI minds has become a trend Recently (September 25, 2016), YSR Congress party president YS Jagan interacted with NRIs through video conference to emphasise the immediate need for special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Even Punjab Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh had taken the Skype route to reach out to NRIs.