"The diaspora is engaging, coming forward, shaking hands with India”
Introduction: Mr Vijay Jolly, president of the Delhi Study Group, was until recently the global convenor of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP). An ex-MLA from Delhi, he managed to put in the hard yards, and crisscross continents in order to expand the overseas chapters of his political party. Having travelled extensively across the world, he has interacted with a very large number of NRIs individually and in groups and associations. From the Americas to Europe, from the Asia-Pacific to the Gulf, NRIs came in droves to attend the OFBJP programmes, and later teamed up to support the BJP before the general elections of May 2014 in India. India Empire’s Editor Sayantan Chakravarty and Consulting Editor Yogesh Sood caught up with Mr Jolly at his residence. His photographs were later taken at the Vijay Chowk near Parliament by Consulting Editor Sipra Das
You have extensively travelled around the world promoting the BJP. After the formation of the Modi Government what is your impression of the Indian Diaspora?
The Indian diaspora overseas is more than enlightened. The Indian diaspora looks with great expectation at the Modi-led BJP Government at the centre. It feels that here at last is a Prime Minister who understands their problems, and who is sincerely into the mode of addressing those problems as soon as possible. I say this with confidence because just before he travelled to the USA last year and addressed the sellout gathering at the Madison Square Garden in New York, I had the occasion to travel across the USA. I was travelling with Mr Rajyavardhan Rathore, then an MP and now a Union Minister. We touched base with NRIs, and each time we addressed them, we felt their enthusiasm and goodwill for India and our Prime Minister.
Kindly expand on the role of the OFBJP prior to Mr Modi’s visit to the USA in 2014…
I played the part of a small screw and nut, the full credit goes to Mr Modi and his team. I would also wish to place on record the role of Mr Ram Madhav. Out of 100 marks, I would like to lay claim to just 2 marks towards the efforts put in by me. But we did make some significant progress, and a small difference, during the preparations. In a matter of about 10 days the OFBJP unit travelled to Vancouver and unfurled the Indian tri-colours on the 68th Independence Day of the country with the Indian Consul General in attendance. It was the same city where the Indian flag had been burnt many years ago by pro-Khalistani elements. I travelled to Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland, addressing sizeable gathering after gathering, and motivating the Indian diaspora to come in large numbers to attend Mr Modi’s speech at the Madison Square Garden. The diaspora did not disappoint, and we all know that they filled up the venue completely.
You held a successful OFBJP meet in January 2014. What was the thinking in the diaspora at that time, because the UPA was still in the Central Government?
I vividly remember that 158 PIOs from 32 nations attended the Overseas Friends of BJP meet in January 2014. I was then the global convenor of the OFBJP, a position to which I had been appointed in 2011 by then BJP president Mr Nitin Gadkari. I knew then that their presence was critical and would transform into millions of connections when they went back to their respective countries. They would connect through families, colleagues and friends using modern day telecommunication and information technology channels. They would also directly or indirectly be enthused to seek votes for BJP during the April – May 2014 general elections.