BJP asks US members not to use party name in presidential polls

BJP stresses bipartisan support in US, issues directive to Overseas Friends of BJP

PTI2_3_2020_000063A Representational image | PTI

The BJP has asked its members in the US not to use the party's name in the presidential polls there, asserting that India-US ties enjoy bipartisan support in that country.

The unambiguous directive to the Overseas Friends of BJP-USA from the party's Foreign Affairs Department head Vijay Chauthaiwale is apparently aimed at allaying any impression that India's ruling party favours any candidate in the US polls in which President Donald Trump of the Republican Party is pitted against Democratic Party's Joe Biden.

"The OFBJP-USA members can participate in the US election campaign and support any candidate or a party in their personal capacity but they have been instructed not to use BJP or OFBJP name during the campaign," Chauthaiwale told PTI. 

In a tweet, he separately informed that the OFBJP-USA has voluntarily registered itself as official representative of BJP under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) in the US and wondered if the US chapter of the Congress too will register itself under the law. 

In its filing under FARA, the OFBJP stated that its objectives include "advocating for welfare social policies, self-reliance, robust economic growth, foreign policy driven by a nationalist agenda and strong national defense for India".

Its activities will include projecting an accurate and positive image of India and promote the BJP in the US and for this the organisation will organise seminars, press conferences, public meetings, internet activities and other programmes on issues pertaining to India and Indo-US cooperation and culture, it said. 

The organisation will also have to declare its meetings, events, findings and expenses under FARA. 

Speaking of the US polls, Chauthaiwale said India and the US have "deep strategic relations" which have bipartisan support in the US and enjoys "overwhelming public support" in India.

"We are confident that this partnership will grow from strength to strength in future too," he added.

It may be noted that the Republican campaign has used visuals of Trump's participation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in huge public meetings like 'Howdy Modi', which happened in September 2019 in Houston, and 'Namaste Trump', which was held in February this year, to woo the Indian diaspora.

Chauthaiwale had mailed the directive to the US chapter of the party on July 24 about not using the BJP's name in connection with the presidential election, as both parties began to intensify their campaign for the polls in November.

With Biden naming Indian-origin Kamala Harris as his party's vice presidential nominee, the BJP leader said, "We are naturally happy that someone with Indian ancestry is contesting 2nd topmost post in the USA."

He, however, added, "At the same time, we believe that any election is solely a domestic process of that country and BJP has no role whatsoever in the process."

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