India

How to stop division of Muslim votes, Akhtar ul Iman’s way ?

- Mohammed Saifuddin Every Muslim political leader claims to have Muslim interest very close to his heart and most of them also claim to sacrifice anything for the community but when it comes to implement this in true spirit very few come forward for it. Comes the election season, every Muslim party and leader talks about unified decision by Muslim voters. All of them appeal Muslim voters to cast their vote in favor of one candidate, they advise voters to prefer Muslim candidates and in absence of Muslim candidates clean and secular non-Muslims should be voted for. Amidst election rallies and big claims, only few courageous leaders offers to sacrifice their own interest over the community. Ruling JD(U) candidate in Bihar’s Kishenganj constituency Akhtar ul Iman has set a good example for all the Indian Muslim leaders. When Congress fielded it’s sitting MP Maulana Asrar ul Haque Qasmi from Kishenganj, irrespective of political affiliation Iman realized that the presence of two Muslim candidates will divide Muslim votes and it will surely benefit BJP candidate. To make sure that minority votes should not divide he announced that he is retiring from the contest. Kishenganj parliamentary constituency consists over seventy percent Muslim electorate and except one instance they elected only Muslim candidate for the Lok Sabha. Apart from secular parties even BJP got a Muslim MP elected from here. Syed Shahabuddin, M J Akbar, Jamilur Rahman, Halimuddin Ahmed, Mohammed Taslimuddin and Syed Shahnawaz Hussain were elected from here. Iman, who had quit the RJD to join JD(U) last month, reportedly said he was sacrificing his candidature to help prevent BJP leader Narendra Modi from becoming PM whom he called as cruel as he was responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots. He hasn’t informed chief minister Nitish Kumar or Bihar JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh about his decision to quit the contest. But it will be interesting to see the reaction of JD(U) leadership on this decision. The decision of Akhtar ul Iman is very crucial in view of the fact that none of the parties nominated Muslim candidates fairly in the ongoing elections. Muslim leaders of different parties always talk about fielding Muslim candidates according to their population. And when Muslims are underrepresented very few bold steps were seen by these Muslim leaders. Iman’s decision should be an alarm clock for Mulsim leaders of all the parties who joined hands with communal forces. TDP has made political alliance with BJP in Andhra Pradesh. There are few constituencies where BJP left the seat for TDP and it nominated Muslim against Muslim candidate. Akhtar ul Iman also appealed to Muslim candidates in other constituencies to take steps to prevent division of votes. How far his appeal attracts only time will show. Muslim leaders in congress are unhappy as it fielded only few Muslims. Muslim leaders of Congress expressed their unhappiness and also made representations to party leadership. But the main question is how far it will effect in decision making of the party. It is always said that Muslims should present in all parties and they should effect their leadership in decisions related to Muslim issues. Time and again it was proved that all the demands and efforts of Muslim leaders to get more seats goes in vain. The favorite reason of all parties is that they want to nominate Muslims only on winnable seats. Only God knows when this attitude will be changed. - Yahind.com
‘Anyone but Modi’: Many Indian Muslims fear the worst

‘Anyone but Modi’: Many Indian Muslims fear the worst

Supporters of Congress Party at an election rally in New Delhi. (AFP)ADAM PLOWRIGHT, ANNIE BANERJI | AFP AYODHYA, India: Some recoil at his name, while others still refuse to acknowledge his popularity. India’s Muslims have watched the rise of election frontrunner Narendra Modi anxiously and are now united in their wariness. Many of the worshippers at the Jama Masjid Terhi Bazaar mosque in Ayodhya, a kilometer from India’s most notorious religious flashpoint, were too young to remember the 1992 riots which left more than 2,000 people dead. Not Mohammad Sageer, a teenager at the time of India’s worst post-independence violence. “What could be worse than seeing Muslims being beaten up, cut up and burned to death?” he said in front of the small blue-coloured mosque bathed in harsh midday sunshine. The dispute in Ayodhya, which boiled over when zealots tore down a mosque believed to have been built over the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram, left deep scars but vaulted Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to national prominence. The enduring sensitivity can be judged by the police presence today. Each visitor negotiates five layers of security as they proceed under caged walkways topped by razor wire to the shrine at the centre. From watchtowers and gathered in groups, paramilitary police keep guard, automatic weapons at the ready. It is a potent reminder of the consequences when religious tensions in one of the world’s most diverse countries, bound together by a secular and liberal constitution, are given vent. Now wrapped up in India’s famously inert legal system, the once-explosive dispute over ownership of the site has cooled in litigation. “But if the BJP comes to power with a full fledged majority, then the atmosphere will become a bit tense here,” warned Sageer, now aged 36. For long a central plank of its agenda, the BJP manifesto still contains a pledge to construct a Ram temple on the site of the old Babri Masjid mosque. Although largely overlooked due to his association with a more recent religious conflagration — riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002 — Modi has links to this struggle too. The 63-year-old, tipped to become prime minister after elections starting April 7, was an organiser in Gujarat for BJP leader L. K. Advani who began a nationwide march to demand a temple for Ram in 1990. Biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay said it was a role which enabled Modi “to burst onto the national political stage” as the huge agitation galvanised public support for the temple. “The Muslim community is anxious about Modi,” said Mujibur Rehman of the Centre for Minority Studies at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university. “What scares Muslims is essentially that they are convinced that this is a person who doesn’t have much respect for them, for their lives and for their future.” Modi’s background, and his lack of outreach to religious minorities even during campaigning, gives them reasons for concern, Rehman said. The strict vegetarian, who does yoga every day, joined a grassroots nationalist group as a boy, entered the BJP at a time of deteriorating inter-religious ties, and is tainted by the 2002 riots. In that spasm of violence, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. Modi had just become chief minister of Gujarat at the time and has been repeatedly investigated — and never found guilty — over suspicions he did too little to prevent the bloodshed. A woman he later appointed as a cabinet minister was jailed for life for orchestrating some of the worst of the killing. When his aide Amit Shah called for a Ram temple in Ayodhya while visiting last July, some worried that the dispute’s embers could be reignited. “Not Modi. I wouldn’t want to see someone like Modi in my lifetime,” says Haji Mahboob Ahmad, head of the group defending the right of Muslims to worship at the contested site in Ayodhya. “Anyone but him.” During campaigning, Modi has presented himself as a moderate nationalist focused on economic development and good governance. “For me my religion is ‘nation first, India first’,” he has told rallies, adding that the constitution was his “only holy book” and that toilets should come first, “temple later”. He also came as close as ever to apologising for the 2002 riots, saying he felt “grief” and “misery”. But his decision to contest a seat from the Hindu holy city of Varanasi was a reminder to supporters that he had not forgotten his roots. And he has also spoken about how “75 percent of people” in India — meaning Hindus — have been ignored by the Congress party, in power for the last decade. Muslims account for around 13 percent of India’s population. Any Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) agenda he might seek to project in power would likely be limited by the compulsions of coalition politics. A BJP parliamentary majority is highly unlikely, although some supporters still dream of what it could lead to. “If a Hindu party wins a majority of votes then we will ask that a law be passed by parliament to free Ram’s birthplace and it be given to the Hindu community,” Sharad Sharma from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council) told AFP in Ayodhya. Around him, stone carvers chiseled away at pieces of an under-construction Ram temple overseen by the VHP which many hope will one day take form on the site of the former mosque.

Difficult to find grooms for Hyderabad’s ‘over qualified’ Muslim women

Bushra Baseerat,TNN HYDERABAD: City match-maker, Shahid Farooqui, has been faced with an unusual problem of late: of ‘over qualified’ brides-to-be. Though his bag is teaming with profiles of several eligible women from the Muslim community between 23 and 35 years of age, he has been struggling to get many of them a perfect match. Reason? All these girls are armed with graduate/post-graduate degrees (M Sc, B Ed, M Tech or even B Tech) now a trend, almost unheard of until a few years ago. As a result, Farooqui says, it’s become a herculean task to find these educated women, equally qualified grooms. “Seven out of 10 women seeking alliances these days are well educated. Given that several men aren’t still particularly interested in a girl’s education (many aren’t qualified themselves) and pay more attention to her looks and financial status, it’s getting difficult to find these prospective brides an appropriate match,” the middle-aged marriage ‘guru’ says while also adding how a lot of families from the lower rungs of society are, thus, forced to “compromise”. Take for instance, Roshna (name changed) of Mallepally. Despite a B Ed degree in her kitty the young girl was forced to marry a school drop out, as the family failed to find her a better match. Ditto a graduate from Yakutpura who eventually married a man with no degree. The only bright spot: the decent returns from the groom’s family transport business. Sadly, such a predicament, observers rue, is often visible in other marginalised communities too. Take for instance, 33-year-old Harika (name changed). This doctor from Madiga Community who registered with a matrimonial site three years ago, is still anxiously waiting to find her ‘Mr Right’-a doctor from her own community. “It’s been a long wait and we hope she eventually gets what she is looking for,” said a family member, who did not wish to be named. The slight tinge of hopelessness in the voice was, however, hard to miss. “If a man earns well, families overlook his qualification. Mostly, it’s the women who end up compromising,” reiterates Yogita K from the matrimonial site shaadi.com. Clearly, Harika’s MBBS education, which might be good news for a country slogging to improve its literacy rate, has its flipside. Observers term this conflict as a “transitional issue”. “Thanks to schemes like free education and fee reimbursement, there are an increased number of girls who are enrolling for higher studies now. Even the drop-out rate among them has lowered. While this has narrowed the educational gap between boys and girls, such issues (related to marriage) have cropped up. That’s also because several boys even today drop out early to help with family businesses or running households,” said an observer, though confident of these creases being ironed out in the future. Similar sentiments were echoed by Jaleesa Sultana Yaseen, member of the Muslim Women Intellectual Forum: “There was a lot of insecurity among women until a few years ago and they took to education to support themselves. But that brought along a lot of practical problems which we need address to correct this imbalance. Parents need to push male children to study to resolve this,” she says. But not many college-going girl students from the community are so optimistic. The current trend has, in fact, instilled in them a fear of losing out on their studies. “My parents did not want me to take up post-graduate studies [for the same reason] but I somehow managed to allay their concerns. Now, seeing so many women who are struggling to find suitable matches around me, I am not sure what will happen,” said Suhela Sheikh, who is pursuing M Sc (Nutrition) at a private college. According to activist and writer Kancha Illaiah this problem is more prominent in the middle and lower rungs society as higher education within this section is mostly first generational. “Girls don’t get well educated grooms within their own caste. Unless the caste problem is over come, this cannot be done away with,” he stresses. Professor Mustafa Ali Sarwari of Maulana Azad National University, meanwhile, considers it a serious social issue. Taking it a step further he says, “If these girls (out of lack of choice) get married to men who are less educated, compatibility issues are bound to crop up.” But nonetheless, educationists are happy with the trend, with those like just-retired professor of Osmania University, B S Rao, even terming this rise in women education as a “silent revolution” – a stark contrast to the feelings of Farooqui who confesses to be reeling under “bad business”.
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    Gulf

    Fingerprinting a must for all expat women

    RIYADH –The General Directorate of Passports has made fingerprinting mandatory for the issuance of new residence permit (iqama) and final exit for all expatriate women. Earlier, biometric data was mandatory for expatriate women only for obtaining a work permit, and it was optional for all other women. Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Yahya, director general of passports, said that fingerprinting system for all passport services will be introduced for expatriate women in phases, and in the first phase this will be applicable to issuance of new iqama and a final exit. Al-Yahya said that the fingerprinting system was there for expatriate women for the issuance of new iqama and a final exit since long time but it was only optional. The directorate has made it a condition for issuance of new iqama and final exit effective from March 23, this year. Earlier, on March 31, 2012, fingerprinting was made mandatory for expatriate women for obtaining a work permit. Non-working women dependents were exempted from submitting their fingerprints when applying for a new residence permit, amending their current status or requesting a replacement iqama. Fingerprinting is compulsory for all expatriate male and female workers in the Kingdom. This is also a condition for other services such as a transfer of sponsorship, and iqama, in addition to driving license for men. A biometrics system includes, but is not limited to, fingerprints, face recognition, retina or iris recognition, palm prints and DNA. – SG

    Create jobs for Saudis, but don’t get rid of expats, says expert

    Saleh Fareed Saudi Gazette JEDDAH – The Kingdom should focus on creating new jobs for Saudis rather than replacing the existing expat workers, according to an expert. Fadhel Kaboub, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Economics at Denison University and a Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College and the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability, thinks that it would be a mistake to lose the current expat workforce that has contributed so much to the local economy. “When you look at the number of Saudis enrolled in Hafiz, it is just about one quarter of the number of expats working in the Kingdom.” Kaboub stated that the employment obstacles faced by men and women are very different in any society, but challenges are more noticeable in Saudi Arabia. “There are certainly more family constraints on women that can be tackled by new regulations such as workplace childcare facilities, maternity leave benefits, transportation programs, flexible work schedule, and home-based work options. “About 80% of unemployed Saudi women have a university degree, so there is a tremendous talent pool that remains untapped. Women’s labor force participation remains much lower than men’s, so you can only imagine the potential increase in annual economic growth that the economy can achieve,” he said. Kaboub believes Arab countries should invest in vocational and professional education. “I truly believe that on-the-job training is necessary in any profession. Employers need to realize that they also need to invest in professional development beyond the first few weeks or months of traditional training. This can be an expensive commitment for businesses, especially small size firms, which is where government support can fill the gap in order to ensure a macro scale improvement in professional skills and productivity. I don’t believe in scarcity of skills in talent. These are producible resources, we just have to identify the skills that the economy needs and target our efforts in order to produce them, cultivate them, and maintain them,” he said. The Kingdom, where more than two-thirds of the population is younger than 30 and about 100,000 graduates enter the job market each year, should take tough measures to solve the unemployment situation, according Kaboub. “In a way, the unemployment situation in Saudi Arabia is similar to that experienced by many Arab countries. Nearly half the Arab population is below the age of 30. The so-called demographic “youth bulge” represents a significant logistical challenge for the labor market, but it is also a tremendous opportunity to tap into this massive pool of talent and energy that young Saudi men and women have,” he said. Kaboub said the private sector has chronic vacancies that it cannot fill because of skills mismatch or average salary/incentive gaps between expats salaries, government salaries (SR6,000), private sector salaries (SR4,000), living wage (SR5,800) and Hafiz stipends (SR2,000).
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    World

    Dr. Camad Ali—Symbol of hope for peace

    Dr. Camad Ali—Symbol of hope for peace

    Dr. Camad Ali- By Javid Hassan* Princess Maria Amor Torres, an American philanthropist, has joined expatriates in Saudi Arabia in paying glowing tributes to Dr. Datu Camad Ali, Executive President and founder of SPMUDA, an international NGO from the Philippines, on the occasion of his birthday today (Sunday). They have also suggested that Dr. Camad Ali, who has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2014, could act as a catalyst for change in today’s globalized village. The way forward, according to them, is through cooperation among Indian and Filipino expatriates in the Kingdom for a common cause. They point out that SPMUDA, which has a strong base among Saudis and Indian expatriates residing there, could use its contacts in mobilizing the technical and other resources of Indian and Filipino expatriates in the Kingdom. A triangular partnership among Saudi Arabia, India and the Philippines has been proposed for boosting economic cooperation in their mutual benefit. It will also give a booster shot to the ‘Look East’ policy common to both Saudi Arabia and India. In her tribute, Princess Maria said:”As a family man, I know that his family comes first before anything else because this defines him as a person. I am a living witness that he cares for children equally for his wife that makes him one of the strongest and most respected leaders in the world!” She continues: “My wish for his birthday is to achieve the mission and vision of SPMUDA and the Royal House of Baloi and to maintain, if not exceed, the present integrity and dignity of this organization globally.” Describing Dr. Camad Ali as “a world leader”, she said “he is a combination of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and other peace leaders… Like them, his brilliant mind is combined with his golden heart and his love for humanity is immeasurable.” Princess Maria, who is Founder-President, We Care for Humanity, an NGO based in Los Angeles, said that she deemed it a great honour in “nominating Dr. Datu Camad Ali for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Ali is the founding president of Southern Philippine Muslim and Non-Muslim Unity Development Association, International, one of the largest peace organizations in the world based in the Philippines.” In her letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee dated February 9, 2014, Princess Maria Amor observed:” In many ways exceeding the challenging requirements and expectations for the award, Dr. Datu Camad Ali’s ambitions, intelligence, and accomplishments complement precisely the stellar community of past recipients and make him highly deserving of the honor and opportunity bestowed by the Nobel Peace Prize. “Dr. Ali has so much care for the world that he managed to unite more than 2,000 representatives of goodwill and humanity across the globe towards one goal, ‘world peace’. Through his coalition with many other peace organizations and government agencies worldwide, he played important roles in the release of wrongly accused victims and prisoners of wars,” she points out.. In his birth day tributes, Abdul Hannan Tago, Senior Reporter of Arab News in Riyadh, said: “There are emerging noble leaders now from various countries who are dedicating their service for humanity. In the Philippines, we have Datu Camad Ali, the founder chairman of the SPMUDA International.” He said: “This man happened to be a Muslim in that majority catholic country in Asia. But for him he understands that every human being is created to live equally and has rights to drink, eat and dress as others do on this earth. Camad does not look at the boundaries to prevent him in serving those unfortunate and poor people in the world. He uses his own resources to do so, while living in a very simple and small rented house.” In this respect, Abdul Hannan notes, Dr Camad Ali stands out in sharp contrast to those given to “selfishness, blind and aggressive love for power and wealth.” He said “people in all continents, without exception, particularly in Asia, Africa and now in the Middle East, have suffered a lot from these individual behaviour in terms of their political agenda, grabbing all possible sources and using even destructive tools” in pursuit of their agenda. He continues: “They cause not only eliminating their opponents in politics and wealth but also causing much damage to the environment. They don’t care what their equipments do for the health and environment.” “Some of these elements,” says the journalist, “are using religion or ethnic affiliation for their agenda while looking at other’s belief as hindrance to their way to their main goals. For them, they would sacrifice other inhabitants on this earth if they simply oppose their ambitious agenda. “Yet, there are very few in this world who would serve humanity and devote themselves for their welfare regardless of their race, color and faith. We had among them who have already passed away, like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi who fought for their people in their respective countries,” Abdul Hannan said, adding that Dr. Camad Ali has been following in their footsteps. In another tribute, Prof. Mirza Baig, a Canadian professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, described Dr. Camad Ali “as an activist for human rights and peace. But to me he is not only a reformer and but also an environmentalist.” He said: “Dr. Camad Ali believes in the respect of the human rights in the society and at the work place. He is the greatest admirer of nature and living organisms of the ecosystem. His mission is to ensure that enough food is being produced in a safe environment for every single human being. He has developed a working model for the living and working of all the human beings. He attaches the great importance to the forests and the other natural resources and wants to conserve them for the future generations.” Prof. Baig concludes: “He is very much concerned over the climate change and helping organizations and the governments to cope with the emerging issues faced by the humanity and human beings.” According to Syed Ziaur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Mawiyah Medical Group in Riyadh, the SPMUDA chairman could act as a catalyst for change through his organization, which is well connected with influential Saudis and Indian expatriates. By mobilizing their resources, he could play a useful role in promoting economic development in the Philippines as well as in Saudi Arabia and India by turns. In this context, Ziaur Rahman said the IT major Wipro, the third largest software exporter from India (which is also present in Saudi Arabia), has decided to set up a development centre in the Philippines.”The centre will employ 1,000 people in the next 18 months,” he quoted Wipro Chairman Azim Premji as saying on the sidelines of Fortune Global Forum held in New Delhi last year. Besides the IT sector, Zia said Indian companies are also teaming up with their counterparts from the Philippines in construction projects. He referred to the GMR, a publicly traded company from Hyderabad (South India), which has gone into partnership with Philippines-based Megawide Construction Corporation. They landed a $700 million contract for modernizing Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the central Philippines. In another development in the same context, 17 teams from various Indian colleges and universities participated last month in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) in the Philippines, where contestants had to design a prototype of fuel-efficient cars. The teams competed in various categories — gasoline, battery electric, diesel, and even hydrogen, the most popular category being gasoline. Seven core members from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology (VIT), Bangalore, for instance, received nearly 250 online applications to help build their energy-efficient car. Realizing the growth potential in bilateral relations, the Philippine government has made it easier for Indian nationals to enter the country without a visa and stay there up to 14 days so long as they are holders of a valid visa from the European Union or any of six other countries—the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Britain. It may be extended for an additional seven days. The new policy is based on a Department of Foreign Affairs circular issued on March 20, 2013. It’s an accident of history that India and the Philippines have had no cultural, political or economic relations on the level of other ASEAN member countries. In the wake of the economic boom fuelled by the discovery of oil in the Gulf countries, another turn of history has brought Indians and Filipinos closer at the work place. Indian and Filipino expatriates, especially in Saudi Arabia, can have a competitive edge over others if they have good communication skills in Arabic, both oral and written. This is where SPMUDA Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia, both Filipinos and Saudis, could create synergy in the mutual interest of Saudi Arabia, India and the Philippines, or SIP countries, in short. Whether it is investment, manpower supply or transfer of technology, they could come up with projects based on those parameters, enabling the partners to SIP from a regional pool, rich in manpower, technological and economic wealth. It’s an idea whose time has come. It will lend a new momentum to India’s ‘Look East’ policy as well. *The writer is SPMUDA Ambassador of Goodwill in Bangalore.
    Two top Microsoft executives to leave in reshuffle: reports

    Two top Microsoft executives to leave in reshuffle: reports

    Photo credit: ReutersIn the biggest management reshuffle at Microsoft Corp since Satya Nadella took over as its chief executive, two top executives, Tony Bates and Tami Reller, will leave the company while a former Clinton family aide will become its chief strategy officer, according to media reports. Mark Penn, who will become chief strategy officer, will get a bigger hand in determining which markets Microsoft should be in and where it should be making further investments, the New York Times reported, citing a person briefed on the change. Penn was an executive vice president at Microsoft overseeing advertising and strategy. Bates, the former Skype CEO in charge of Microsoft’s business development, will leave immediately, technology news site Re/code reported on Sunday citing unnamed sources. Bates, who has also worked at Cisco Systems Inc, was considered one of the potential CEO candidates to succeed Steve Ballmer, who announced in August that he would retire. Eric Rudder, head of advanced strategy, will temporarily take up Bates’ duties and marketing executive Chris Capossela will replace Reller, the report said. Reller, one of the top female executives at the company and co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, will remain with the company for some time to help with the transition. The report said Nadella, who was appointed CEO on February 4, told staff of the changes on Friday and the company plans to announce them publicly on Tuesday. Microsoft declined to comment on the reports. © Thomson Reuters 2014
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    NRI

    Election fever in Gulf NRIs

    Election fever in Gulf NRIs - Apr 08 2014

    - Mohammed Saifuddin Gulf NRIs may not appear in the list of priorities of the political parties in India. But many NRIs are actively supporting their favorite party and candidates. Since Lok Sabha elections were declared in India, several NRIs were busy with activities to promote their favorite candidates and parties. Even though hectic office schedule keeps them busy for the whole day, several NRIs manage to take some time in the evenings to devote for political activity. For those who can’t indulge regularly in daily activities, two days long weekend allows enough time to involve in dialogue with friends and other NRIs on political situation back home. Only few lucky NRIs will have an opportunity to cast their vote but many are closely monitoring and watching the election campaign. Availability of many satellite channels allow them to get latest updates and developments at national and local level. Social media has opened a channel for them to get involved in interaction with political activists at ground level. Candidates contesting for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and their supporters are updating minute-to-minute activities on Facebook. It provides NRIs to get abreast with ground level activity back home. Amidst jamboree of election campaigning in India, many Social and Cultural organizations in Gulf countries are busy in conducting programs to create awareness among fellow NRIs. Many organizations are encouraging NRIs to participate in voting. Conducting programs to discuss Indian elections and guiding the voters to select the right candidate is the favorite subject for most of them. Gujarati Samaj in Abu Dhabi is encouraging its members to cast their vote whereas Abu Dhabi Islamic Centre is conducting seminars to help its members get enrolled on the voters list. Aam Aadmi Party UAE Coordinator and core member Harish Mishra reportedly claimed that many AAP members are travelling to their constituencies to add impetus to the nationwide campaign rallies. UAE-based Kerala Muslim Culture Centre (KMCC), a political arm of the Muslim League and ally of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, has chartered an Air India flight to carry voters to Kozhikode. Many NRIs in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are planning their vacation to coincide with polling date so that they can have a say in deciding who should rule the nation. Indian organizations in Saudi Arabia are not behind their UAE counterparts. Tanzeem Hum Hindustani (THH) held a brainstorming session in Riyadh to discuss various aspects of general elections and the role of secular forces to combat growing face of communalism in India. THH roped in representatives of various social and cultural organizations to address this session. Representatives of Middle East NRI Association, Hindustani Bazm-e-Urdu, Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association, Indian Research Scientists Association, BISWAS, Deccan Cultural Association, Milli Council, Indian Engineers Forum, Bazm e Shabaab e Deccan, Progressive Indian Forum, Nadwatul Ulema Old Boys Association, Jamia Milllia Islamia Alumni Association participated in the discussion. All these organizations agreed to mobilize opinion against fascist forces who are trying to intrude pluralistic culture in India. Hindustani Bazm-e-Urdu held a meeting to discuss the 2014 parliamentary elections and appealed the voters to cast their vote against communal forces. Muslim Education Society also held similar meeting in Riyadh. Bazm-e-Ittehad, the overseas wing of AIMIM recently reorganized its Riyadh chapter with the induction of new office bearers. The AIMIM workers and supporters are active in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to mobilize support for MIM candidates. Several supporters of the party have already decided to travel before election dates so that they can cast their vote. Hyderabad based cable channel offered advertising opportunity to MIM supporters and workers. Under the special offer ad strip with appeal to vote for MIM candidates with picture, name and contact details will run till elections are held. Interestingly, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi addressed overseas party workers through recorded video message on the occasion of reorganization of Riyadh chapter. He appealed NRIs to participate in the elections. Responding to his request several well-wishers placed advertisements in the newspapers announcing that they are coming to India to cast their vote. Bazm-e-Ittehad Jeddah chapter is regularly conducting meetings to mobile support. NRIs in Oman have raised their voice to have NRI representation in Indian parliament. Different wings of Indian Social Club in Oman raised their concerns in this regard. They believe that NRI representation in Indian parliament should be a priority for all parties. They said upcoming government should consider reservation of seats for NRIs and PIOs in Indian parliament. Representatives of different wings of Indian Social Club and several other professional echoed similar views to Times of Oman. - Yahind.com
    Gulf NRIs  and 2014 Lok Sabha elections

    Gulf NRIs and 2014 Lok Sabha elections - Apr 06 2014

    - Mohammed Saifuddin Many NRIs in Gulf countries think they are “Not Required Indians” for government authorities and political parties in India. They may not be important as voters but their significance in fund raising and campaigning has compelled the political parties to re-consider their priorities for NRIs. Especially the participation of NRIs in campaigning for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for Delhi assembly elections last year triggered almost all parties to re-assess their priorities for NRIs, with no exception to Gulf region. The significant role of NRIs in election campaign for Delhi Assembly elections led AAP to look towards Gulf NRIs for a larger role in the parliament elections. Accordingly, senior AAP leader Shazia Ilmi visited UAE and interacted with Indian expats in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She discussed with Gulf NRIs how they are affected with the existing system in India. Shazia’s visit to UAE may not be directly linked to the donations pouring in from UAE and other Gulf countries but it is a fact that Gulf NRIs are contributing to AAP considerably. According to the information available on the party’s web site, (updated on 12.48 p.m. on 6th April) AAP received a total donation of over INR 229.15 million (INR 22,91,50,161) contributed by 82,392 donors from 109 countries. UAE, where Shazia Ilmi visited, stands third in the list with 1359 donors contributing INR 7.9 Million (INR 79,17,019). That’s not all, Qatar stands at 9th position with INR 1.4 Million, while Kuwait (INR 1.04 Million), Saudi Arabia (INR 0.89 Million), Bahrain (INR 0.5 Million) and Oman (INR 0.5 Million) stands on 10th, 12th, 14th and 15th positions. India tops the list with the largest amount of donations while USA is on second position. The above mentioned figures represent contributions from Indians in Gulf countries to Aam Aadmi Party only. Efforts to search for similar information on web sites of other parties went futile. However websites of almost all the parties contain an appeal for contributions. BJP has created “Modi for PM fund” and circulated emails to many overseas Indians requesting to contribute for it. Overseas friends of BJP (OFBJP) is not only active in fund raising but also actively campaigning to gain support for Modi. With largest number of supporters, OFBJP is most active in USA. With chapters in 13 states it has created an online and on-ground volunteering platform “India272+” to help the party in its mission to achieve majority in Lok Sabha. Aggregating the relevant content, this platform empower OFBJP volunteers to collaborate, contribute and campaign for the party. BJP is also collecting crowdsourcing ideas and sources for its mission through this platform. Even though Indian National Congress has its presence in different countries as Overseas Indian Congress (OIC) and they may be active on the ground, but its presence is almost negligible in the news. A quick google search and comparison of OIC and OFBJP reveals that OFBJP members are very active in foreign lands. NRIs in different countries are using social media and Voip calling services to contact their friends and relatives to seek votes for their favorites parties and candidates. The contestants are also using social media to reach electorate. They are spreading print ads and videos on facebook, twitter and youtube to attract maximum voters. Due to latest technologies and gadgets, coupled with the services of techno savvy professionals, campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha election has turned fully hi-tech. While online campaigning and fund raising is going on with full impetus, for NRI funding to their favorite party is a matter of just one click and all the parties are tapping for this. - Yahind.com
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    Election fever in Gulf NRIs

    Election fever in Gulf NRIs

    - Mohammed Saifuddin Gulf NRIs may not appear in the list of priorities of the political parties in India. But many NRIs are actively supporting their favorite party and candidates. Since Lok Sabha elections were declared in India, several NRIs were busy with activities to promote their favorite candidates and parties. Even though hectic office schedule keeps them busy for the whole day, several NRIs manage to take some time in the evenings to devote for political activity. For those who can’t indulge regularly in daily activities, two days long weekend allows enough time to involve in dialogue with friends and other NRIs on political situation back home. Only few lucky NRIs will have an opportunity to cast their vote but many are closely monitoring and watching the election campaign. Availability of many satellite channels allow them to get latest updates and developments at national and local level. Social media has opened a channel for them to get involved in interaction with political activists at ground level. Candidates contesting for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and their supporters are updating minute-to-minute activities on Facebook. It provides NRIs to get abreast with ground level activity back home. Amidst jamboree of election campaigning in India, many Social and Cultural organizations in Gulf countries are busy in conducting programs to create awareness among fellow NRIs. Many organizations are encouraging NRIs to participate in voting. Conducting programs to discuss Indian elections and guiding the voters to select the right candidate is the favorite subject for most of them. Gujarati Samaj in Abu Dhabi is encouraging its members to cast their vote whereas Abu Dhabi Islamic Centre is conducting seminars to help its members get enrolled on the voters list. Aam Aadmi Party UAE Coordinator and core member Harish Mishra reportedly claimed that many AAP members are travelling to their constituencies to add impetus to the nationwide campaign rallies. UAE-based Kerala Muslim Culture Centre (KMCC), a political arm of the Muslim League and ally of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, has chartered an Air India flight to carry voters to Kozhikode. Many NRIs in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are planning their vacation to coincide with polling date so that they can have a say in deciding who should rule the nation. Indian organizations in Saudi Arabia are not behind their UAE counterparts. Tanzeem Hum Hindustani (THH) held a brainstorming session in Riyadh to discuss various aspects of general elections and the role of secular forces to combat growing face of communalism in India. THH roped in representatives of various social and cultural organizations to address this session. Representatives of Middle East NRI Association, Hindustani Bazm-e-Urdu, Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association, Indian Research Scientists Association, BISWAS, Deccan Cultural Association, Milli Council, Indian Engineers Forum, Bazm e Shabaab e Deccan, Progressive Indian Forum, Nadwatul Ulema Old Boys Association, Jamia Milllia Islamia Alumni Association participated in the discussion. All these organizations agreed to mobilize opinion against fascist forces who are trying to intrude pluralistic culture in India. Hindustani Bazm-e-Urdu held a meeting to discuss the 2014 parliamentary elections and appealed the voters to cast their vote against communal forces. Muslim Education Society also held similar meeting in Riyadh. Bazm-e-Ittehad, the overseas wing of AIMIM recently reorganized its Riyadh chapter with the induction of new office bearers. The AIMIM workers and supporters are active in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to mobilize support for MIM candidates. Several supporters of the party have already decided to travel before election dates so that they can cast their vote. Hyderabad based cable channel offered advertising opportunity to MIM supporters and workers. Under the special offer ad strip with appeal to vote for MIM candidates with picture, name and contact details will run till elections are held. Interestingly, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi addressed overseas party workers through recorded video message on the occasion of reorganization of Riyadh chapter. He appealed NRIs to participate in the elections. Responding to his request several well-wishers placed advertisements in the newspapers announcing that they are coming to India to cast their vote. Bazm-e-Ittehad Jeddah chapter is regularly conducting meetings to mobile support. NRIs in Oman have raised their voice to have NRI representation in Indian parliament. Different wings of Indian Social Club in Oman raised their concerns in this regard. They believe that NRI representation in Indian parliament should be a priority for all parties. They said upcoming government should consider reservation of seats for NRIs and PIOs in Indian parliament. Representatives of different wings of Indian Social Club and several other professional echoed similar views to Times of Oman. - Yahind.com
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