Congress taps NRIs for resource mobilisation

The Congress has sought the help of non-resident Indians (NRIs) in resource mobilisation and campaign management for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In a March 20 circular to all Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs, party general secretary in-charge of organisation, KC Venugopal, asked them to appoint a coordinator in their respective states to interface with NRIs.

Many overseas Indians, especially those based in different countries in Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and America, have expressed their desire to help the Congress in resource mobilisation and campaign management in the April-May Lok Sabha elections, according to Venugopal.

“Some want to come and work in India to help the Congress candidates at local levels while others want to help on social media to reach out to their family and friends back home to vote for the Congress,” he wrote.

The grand old party is grappling with its worst financial crisis. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, several Congress candidates had admitted to a “severe funds crunch”.

The crisis, blamed on corporate houses moving away from the Congress, reportedly continued through subsequent assembly elections in several states.

The party had last year launched a 40-day nationwide mass contact campaign to seek donations from the people.

Through this crowd-funding move, the Congress resorted to its old system of resource mobilisation as decades ago it would seek funds from the people to fight the elections.

“Most NRIs find it difficult to navigate through our party organisation and feel frustrated during their visits,” Venugopal said.

“They have some issues that require help and guidance to interface with the local government,” he said, pitching for the appointment of a contact person in each state to facilitate the NRI interface.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been travelling across the world and interacting with the NRI community in the past few years. He created a separate department, Indian Overseas Congress, in 2017 to reach out to NRIs.

The department, headed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s key aide Sam Pitroda, boasts of a strong presence in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East.

Last week, the Indian Overseas Congress had organised car rallies across the UK to garner support for the grand old party from the Indian diaspora.

Indian Overseas Congress secretary Varendra Vashisht said through the campaigns, they are urging NRIs and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) to visit India and vote for the Congress party in the parliamentary polls.

“It is important for them to participate in the electoral process back home for the future of India and thus save and strengthen the democracy,” he said.

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