Adelphi, Maryland – Overseas Friends of BJP, US (OFBJP) in Washington DC Metropolitan area organized a “BJP Maha Vijayotsav 2019,” a victory celebration at The Hindu Temple here to celebrate the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the recently concluded General Elections in India.
Modi led the governing BJP, the right-wing Hindu nationalist party to a win that outstripped the impressive results of 2014 as the party increased its seat share from 282 to 303 out of a total 543 seats in the lower house of India’s Parliament, the Lok Sabha. Overall the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) captured 353 parliamentary seats.
To celebrate the landslide win, the function was started with introductory passionate speeches, punctuated with how Indians and Indian Americans supported Modi’s election campaign. The speaker then introduced Dr. Haleem Khan, a dance teacher, and Khan started with “We are all Indians,” and was greeted with applause. He also shared how Modi in 2016 tweeted a picture of his with tag “Pride of India.”
After the first round of speeches the audience was mesmerized by a beautiful Kuchipudi dance performance by Trinity.
The speakers were back as Vice President Adapa Prasad mentioned Sikhs of America as one of the hosts of the event amidst a thunderous applause as Sikhs in the audience raised the war-cry of Sikhs: Bole So Nihal … (followed by) Sat Sree Akal.
Adapa highlighted what Modi did – for example providing toilets in rural areas for which he got even Muslim women to go and vote for the BJP. “Modiji has demolished all Khan Market predictions and has given now the slogan, “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas.” In his utterances, he hoped India will become member of the UNSC and with confidence announced that Article 370 (dealing with special status of Jammu and Kashmir in India) will definitely go.
Sikhs of America
Invited to address the audience, Jesse Singh, the leader of Sikhs of America, recalled how a meeting – with visiting Prime Minister Modi in New York in 2014 – scheduled for 10 minutes – went on for nearly an hour. He also noted that Modi has fulfilled all the promises he had made to the Sikhs – opened up India for US asylum seeker Sikhs who couldn’t go back under former Congress government. He thanked Modi for bringing to justice most of the culprits of the 1984 Sikh massacre.
Then there was a readout and felicitations for a list of who’s who – people who went to India or just volunteered in the Modi campaign and contributed to the thumping BJP victory. There were also recorded messages from Indian BJP leaders which were played on the big screen for the audience.
That was just one of numerous similar events held around the United States before and after Modi’s swearing-in, with jubilant groups of supporters who had given time and effort into campaigning for him long distance and some by traveling to India.
Soni Goes to India
As the function was winding down, IAT caught up with Kanwaljit Singh Soni, Convener, Sikh Affairs Wing OFBJP (US) who had traveled to India to campaign for BJP leaders, namely Kiron Kher in Chandigarh; Som Prakash in Hoshiarpur; and participated in road shows in Gurdaspur of film star turned politician Sunny Deol, son of legendary Bollywood actor Dharmendra.
Narrating those experiences from the ground zero in India, Soni quipped, “All three candidates I campaigned for won by the Grace.” Even people who didn’t travel to India, made huge contributions of time and effort. “Thousands of calls were made to India by volunteers, urging Indian citizens to vote for Modi,” said Soni. (IAT)