There is major support among the Indian American community for BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, while a growing number also support Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party (AAP), says Indian American Mohan L Jain from Chicago.
Jain, a delegate at the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the world's largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin that began here on Tuesday, told IANS: "We want a strong leader to come (to power in India). There has been enough of dynastic politics.. Others should be given a chance to rule.. Modi has very strong support among the Indian American community."
Asked what he felt about the giant-killer AAP, which decimated the ruling Congress in the Delhi assembly elections and has formed government, Jain said: "The AAP phenomenon is very good.. It is good to give a jolt. It is good for India and for the whole country."
Jain said he met Kejriwal a few years ago when the latter was in Chicago to give a talk, and has also met AAP leader Prashant Bhushan. "I have met Anna Hazare too. They have a lot of supporters in the US," said Jain who is trustee and founding president of India Development Coalition of America (IDCA) that works with NGOs to help eradicate poverty in India.
Jain's organization works with grassroots NGOs in the fields of education, healthcare, water and livelihood in many states, including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. Jain, who migrated to the US 42 years ago, said his son left his job in the US to form an NGO in India.
According to him, the "foundation of the pyramid of India", or the people who live in villages have been ignored by the Indian government.
"In 2015, it will be 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi's return to India (from South Africa), We have not achieved the India of Gandhi's dreams. We have not done enough for the people who sustain our lives."
"The foundation of the pyramid of India is getting weak. We need to strengthen the foundations.. The people who live in villages, they are the life givers. We have to take care of them," Jain said. "We have lost our values. ..Our values will tell us we are all one, we should work together to solve our problems.. We welcome all the people who want to work for India," said Jain, adding that if the government had done its work in the past 65 years for poverty alleviation and education, then organisations like his would not need to have to come to work in India.
"We are doing the work in India which the government of India has not done for 65 years," he said. "We are telling Indians in the US to come and work for India," he added. According to Jain, there is a grounds-well of support in India too for Modi, more than for Kejriwal. He said an auto-driver he spoke to said while he had voted for Kejriwal in the Delhi elections and during the April-May Lok Sabha elections, his vote would be for the BJP.
"We are not against (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi, we have had enough of dynastic rule.. Whatever work he has done has been for the family, for the party, not for India.. If he had taken up a position of responsibility and done something concrete he would have proved something."
The January 7-9 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi, of which FICCI is a partner, is aimed at enhancing networking and reinforcing commercial linkages among the diaspora. There are 25 million people of Indian origin residing outside India.