Bangalore’s Obama fan club could not make it to Washington

January 20th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Jan 20 (IANS) A group of techies in India’s IT hub of Bangalore canvassed for Barack Obama through emails and SMSes during the election campaign last year, but they could not make it to Washington to witness his inauguration as they have projects to finish and deadlines to meet.Staying full 13,000 km away from Washington, they raised a few thousand dollars for his election campaign and took out rallies to inform fellow Bangaloreans on why he is good for India and the world.

They cheered his historic win of Nov 4, but their hopes of being part of the millions at Washington Tuesday to witness the first African American taking oath as US president have been dashed.

“We had a plan to visit Washington DC and witness the historic moment of Barack Obama taking the oath as the first black president of America on Jan 20. But, unfortunately all of us are held up with our latest assignments and could not make our trip to Washington,” Balaji S. Venkat, the president of the Barack Obama Bangalore Fan Club, told IANS.

The club members, however, will dine together watching their hero taking oath as all news channels will telecast the event live.

“We will be catching up all the activities of Obama’s swearing-in ceremony live on television. Members of our club will dine together to commemorate the occasion,” said Balaji, a software professional at the city-based Strategic Offshore Consulting Services Global.

The club was formed by a group of techies in August last year to garner support for Obama. It has seven core members and several volunteers, mostly IT engineers and management consultants.

The club lobbied with Indian Americans to vote for Obama by SMSing and e-mailing them. It raised Rs.2,000,000 (approx $4,500) from Bangaloreans as contribution to the Obama campaign fund.

The Indian American community played a major role in the US presidential elections. The US is home to a 2.7 million strong Indian diaspora besides 80,000 Indian students.

While Obama has spoken against outsourcing, the club believes he would never take any step against India’s interests.

“His statements are not anti-outsourcing. He is more concerned about creating internal job security for US citizens. That is absolutely justified, as he is head of the state,” said Balaji.

“He would certainly understand and encourage the logic behind outsourcing. We believe that he would always be a good friend for India and its businesses.”

Bangalore, among the world’s leading technology hubs that have several American IT and ITeS companies’ offices, had closely observed the US presidential elections.

A right person at the helm of affairs in the US is a must for Bangalore, as around 60 percent of India’s IT export revenue comes from the US.

The club is confident Obama will put the US economy back on the growth trajectory soon.

“Obama is clear about his policies. He has done a lot of home work and would bail the US and world economy from doldrums,” said Sandeep Kumar, a member of the club.

UNITES-Professionals, India (Union for Information Technology-Enabled Services -Professionals), a group that acts as a link between employers and employees in the IT and ITeS sector, has welcomed Obama’s presidency too.

“We are hopeful that Obama will bail out not only the US economy from its present crisis, but would also help the world to get over the global economic recession,” said Karthik Shekhar, general secretary of UNITES-Professionals.

UNITES is a part of global Union Network International (UNI), which claims to have 20 million members worldwide.

UNITES India has 18,000 members in six metros of the country.

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