x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Indians in the UAE hopeful after elections

They were unable to vote, but that has not stopped Indians in the UAE from having high expectations of their country's new ruling coalition.

DUBAI // They were unable to vote, but that has not stopped Indians in the UAE from having high expectations of their country's ruling coalition, led by the Congress Party, which claimed a huge victory in the month-long general election. Expatriate Indians called on the alliance, which is expected to rule for a second term headed by the present prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, to support those returning home after losing their jobs, and to allow voting for the 25 million Indians based abroad.

"A lot of NRIs are putting their money into India," said Dr Rajah Balakrishna, executive director at DigiFilm Club, based in the Cultural Foundation. "That's a thing that he (prime minister) has to look into. We can only tell our people back home who to vote for, who we like because we have no direct influence. We should have a say in the forming of governments back home." Mr Balakrishna added: "The present prime minister, he is a decent, clean person. We feel that he will do much better and this makes him a strong prime minister.

"A lot of youngsters have won in these elections. They should be given a chance to do their best in the governing of the country." K.V Shamsudheen, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, an organisation working for the welfare of non resident Indians, said that the money sent by expatriate Indians should be used in welfare projects and development. "The new government must utilise a part of the remittance from 25 million non resident Indians for the national infrastructure development," he said. "Lack of proper infrastructure is the main obstacle for the development of the country.

"If the new government develops friendly relations with neighbouring countries, they can reduce defence spending and transfer that surplus to agriculture development which is the backbone of the economy." Indians were glued to their television sets on Saturday as the votes were totted up and the results announced. "This result is what I wanted and what my family voted for," said Anil Nair, an accountant based in Dubai. "I am happy with the result and we hope that this will bring stability and progress for India and its people."

Mr Nair's family, along with many others, voted for the Congress-led alliance, which won most seats in Kerala. Campaigners in the south Indian state, which has a large expatriate community in the Gulf, promised to raise issues relevant to its community based abroad. pmenon@thenational.ae SBhattacharya@thenational.ae