By Robert Frank
Raman Chopra returned from India this month with the mandate to meet parliamentarians and other legislators from all across Canada, on behalf of India’s Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party.
Observers expect that Indian voters will catapult BJP back to power as early as May, in a pending general election.
Chopra, one of the founders of Dollard des Ormeaux’ Hindu temple, expects that he will be traveling a lot this year, as the national representative of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP).
During his visit to Delhi, he met BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as well as the party’s senior leader, Lal Krishna Advani and Arun Jaitley, opposition leader of the Rajya Sabha—India’s equivalent of the Senate—and many other top BJP politicians.
The South Asian community is thriving in Canada and growing rapidly. Results of the 2011 census revealed that Punjabi has become Canada’s third most-spoken language after English and French.
“It makes good sense for Canadians, because there is ample opportunity to do business with India,” he told The Suburban. “A BJP government will reduce India’s paperwork and bureaucracy and free it from corruption.”
“India has ample resources, money and people, but Canada has plenty of knowhow to offer,” Chopra observed. “There are lots of opportunities to sell Canada’s research and development to India in all fields of endeavour. Mr. Modi is very receptive to this, but the time to start reaching out and establishing relationships is now, in order to be well-positioned with only four-to-five months left before the election.”
Chopra believes that Canada needs to raise its profile in the subcontinent, because most Indians lump Canada together with the United States.
To facilitate Canada-India trade, he said that India should grant visas to all Canadians on arrival in the country, rather than the current practice of having to apply for one before departing. OFBJP also wants Canadians to be permitted to hold dual citizenship, something India currently forbids.
Chopra said that anesthesiologist Dr. Shivender Dwivedi was appointed OFBJP representative in Montreal, supported by businessman Yogesh Patel, and that Dr. Azad Kaushik is his counterpart in Toronto.
“We have planned a televised live broadcast here by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, sometime in February,” he added.
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