The run-up to the recently concluded General Elections saw a vast horde of mostly tech-savvy NRIs, businessmen, technocrats and others flocking to the homeland to campaign for those parties thay connected with mentally, philosophically and politically. Most notably, large numbers of NRIs participated in the campaigning, in large part handling the backroom operations, new media blitzes and also contributing to the election funding of the parties they felt sympathetic to. While the Aam Aadmi Party, the newcomer on the block, was supported by several NRI groups, the BJP took the cake, with thousands of not only non-resident Gujaratis, but people from across the board participating in the campaigning dynamics. Jagdish Sewhani, a NRI businessman from Vadodara, Gujarat now settled in New York, came to India to assist in Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s campaign. NRI Achievers met up with him in the heat and dust of the campaign, to find out what makes him tick.
Here’s the story, in his own words … I was born and bought up in Vadodara in Gujarat, and I graduated from Ahmedabad University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After that, in 1986, I decided to go for an MBA and so left for the US to do my MBA. After enrolling though, I actually did only three semesters before I dropped out and started my own business. Maybe because it was there in my blood, as I come from a business oriented family. My parents have been and still are in the coal and construction businesses. To tell you something about my family, we are three brothers and two sisters. One brother is settled in the US like me, the other is still in Vadodara. As for my immediate family, I am married and have two daughters, the first has finished her graduation from New York University, and my younger one is pursuing her business studies. Our ancestry harks to a region that is now in Pakistan, and my parents have traditionally been people who supported the Congress. After the partition though, when they migrated to Vadodara in Gujarat, they became part of the Jan Sangh. And thus began an association that ultimately transitioned them into the BJP fold, and we as children, were also to some extent involved in their activities. And so it came to be that I also from a young age have been sympathetic to the BJP and its worldview, its ideology. Even after moving to the US, we kept in touch with the party via the diaspora associations et al. And so it came about that one fine day me and three of my friends formed this organisation called the “Friends of BJP,” which has grown today and has upwards of 50,000 influential members spread across 40 countries. For that matter, whenever Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other BJP leaders came to New York, they used to make it a point to hear us out on our issues, and spend much quality time with us.
So all along, I have been a plain simple member of the party, and take pride in the fact that I am no more than a common karyakartha. And we are happy that the party values our inputs as they feel the diaspora have a role to play in their paradigm for our states and our country, for they have always been keen that we advise them as people of Indian origin living in foreign lands. Likewise, this time round, when it came about that Modi-ji was fighting this election, we were looked upon as advisors to Mr. Modi’s campaign, and many like me came India to help manage that campaign.
The reason many of us came to India and took a hand in this game was the fact that our perception was that we did not have a proper government for the past many years. Our diaspora ruled that state of affairs and wanted to do something about it. And insofar as they are concerned, this was one way. And so many NRIs like me came here to campaign, not just for Modiji and the party BJP, but also for other parties they felt related with. And talking about our BJP campaign, you are seeing the results of our concerted campaign. Time changes for the better and people are now definitely going to see some drastic changes sweeping our country. And Dossie one reason for that is Modi’s way of working, which is very different from that of traditional leaders. Generally he delegates work, which is allotted to an individual on a time & priority basis. And that person is expected to complete his task under any circumstances, If not, action is taken on the supervising authority. That has been the way of Modi, as we have observed his style of administration in the state of Gujarat. Generally, when the leader himself is committed to his work, his team also gets enthused, and are serious about their tasking. Like in any well run corporate enterprise, so is it in government as well. If the top management is good, definitely the body politic will also be good.
Another important aspect of him is thathe has always empowered other leaders as well, taking them along in all his programmes and policies.
And that will hold good now as well, as after all, it is the future of the nation we are talking about. He has always made it a point to never ‘rule,’ but serve a role that is akin to that of a CEO of a company, where he has to show positive results in order to continue.
This was the way he has been serving the Gujarat state, and I presume this will still be his way in which he aims to serve the nation.
I like the statement he made recently, that he is the Mukhya Mazdoor of the state, and would if elected to the centre, become the Pradhaan Mazdoor of the Nation. And if that comes to pass, as it seems most likely it will, I can tell you that within a year people will surely get a good taste of the change that is likely to sweep through India.
Having been part of Modi-ji’s campaign team and after having been privy to the brainstorming sessions during the campaign, let me tell you that Mr. Modi’s approach to holding the prime post of India is to think in terms of fulfilling the basic requirements of the people first wherever they are lacking.
As citizens, people have an inalienable right to basic needs like housing, power, safe drinking water, education, health and sanitation, etc. And his intension is to enrich the life of the people and the country, by reaching urban-class amenities to all parts of the country.