Republican Party’s campaign videos in the US election campaign may be using visuals of ‘Howdy Modi’ and ‘Namaste Trump’ — two rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump — but the BJP has asked its members in America to take part in the electioneering in their individual capacity, and not use the party’s name officially for campaigning for either the Republicans or the Democrats.
Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of BJP’s Foreign Affairs Department, has written to the Overseas Friends of BJP’s (OFBJP) US chapter and cautioned them against using the party’s name or forum officially to campaign for either side.
“It’s the right of every citizen to take part in the election process in their respective countries. Every member of OFBJP can actively participate in the process, but in their individual capacity. The BJP as such has no role in the US elections,” Chauthaiwale told The Indian Express. (Follow US Presidential Elections 2020 Live Updates here)
On Kamala Harris, US Senator of Indian and Jamaican origin who is running for Vice President, Chauthaiwale said: “Naturally we are happy that a person of Indian ancestry is contesting for the second most prominent post in the US. But the BJP wants to take a non-partisan role here. It is left to our members’ choices, because that’s the sovereign right of the people there.”
He said, “We believe that any election is solely a domestic process of that country and the BJP has no role in whatsoever in the process. India and USA have deep strategic relations which has bipartisan support in the US and overwhelming public support in India.”
The BJP’s call for members in the US chapter of OFBJP comes in the middle of Republican campaign including visuals of the two rallies Modi and Trump attended in the US and in India — in September last year and this February, respectively. A Republican campaign video titled “Four More Years” starts with footage of Modi and Trump walking hand in hand at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, during the Prime Minister’s visit to the US last year.
The video, which has Modi saying in the background that Trump “needs no introduction” and that his “name comes up in almost every conversation”, is being circulated heavily among Indian-Americans. The video also has visuals of Modi, Trump and Melania Trump waving at the crowd in Ahmedabad during the US President’s India visit in February.
Responding to a question on the video “Four more years”, Trump had told reporters at a White House news conference last week, “We have great support from India. We have great support from Prime Minister Modi. I would think that the Indian (American) people would be voting for Trump.”