Gulf expats come back to Kerala to join poll campaign

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Malappuram (Kerala), Apr 7 (ANI): Thousands of Gulf expatriates are coming back home to Kerala to participate in the upcoming elections.

In the hope of bringing a solution to the problems related to expatriates, these NRIs are taking the risk of being on a leave without salaries in the midst of global economic recession.

The rush from abroad, especially from the Gulf countries, started three weeks back. It is expected that the number of expats coming back to India would cross one lakh by the last days of elections.

Motorbike rallies and processions organised in Malappuram, in which more than 300 expats took part in the recent days, has become a regular election campaign activity in Kerala these days.

Malappuram is one of the districts in the state with majority of Muslims and maximum gulf expatriates. The elections here are to be held in the first phase on April 16.

Most of these Gulf expats work under the banner of cultural organisations, which has the backing of major political parties like the Congress, the Communist Party of India and the Indian Union Muslim League.

Congress led ICC (Indian Cultural Congress), Indian Union Muslim League led KMCC (Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre), and Communist Party of India led KPS (Kerala Pravasi Sangamam) are the leading cultural organisations of which these expats are a part of.

The NRIs residing in the Gulf nations help these political parties back home by sending money and organising cultural activities. They also encourage other expatriates to join them as members.

Ismail, president of KMCC, Riyadh Centre, who came to India last week said: "Most of them from KMCC organisation, around 7000, flew to India in Mallapuram district alone to work for our party. Many of them are from Jeddah, Dammam, Al-Khobar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and all other gulf regions. They have come to witness the nations biggest democratic elections so as to bring in power a party which can listen to our cries. I think by April 14 more than one lakh are expected to join us".

The Gulf expats participate in the Indian elections with pride. They consider it as their responsibility.

Describing the importance of the visit, Mohammad Kutty, an expat working in Saudi Arabia said, "If we expats have to work freely in other countries, then there is a need to bring a good governance. Some may think that we are mad and spend money at this time, but we feel a kind of pride in participating in the elections. With this, our family members will be safe."

According to NORKA (Non Resident Kerala Association) reports for career opportunities, nearly 25,00,000 Keralites have immigrated to various countries. Of these, 90 percent are settled in the Middle East. They remit close to Rs.200 billion every year to banks in Kerala. By Juhan Samuel(ANI)

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