UAE Residents Surprised by WhatsApp Message from Indian PM

Over the weekend, Indian expatriates in the UAE, along with individuals from diverse nationalities such as Emiratis, Britons, and Pakistanis, were taken aback to find a WhatsApp message on their smartphones originating from an Indian number.

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The message requested feedback and suggestions regarding the Indian government's schemes and initiatives, accompanied by a PDF attachment featuring a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the letter, issued ahead of the general election announcement, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the importance of receiving ideas and support to advance India's prosperity. While some recipients found the unexpected message pleasantly surprising, others, particularly non-Indians, questioned their relevance and involvement in the matter. Dubai-based Pakistani journalist Asma Zain and other recipients expressed confusion about their role in providing suggestions to Prime Minister Modi. Fahad Siddiqui, another Pakistani resident, described the situation as "strange."

The message at first seemed to be connected to the British resident in Dubai who had just returned from a work trip to India. Many who received the letter, including Emiratis, also reported getting it, prompting inquiries about the source of their numbers. Seeking a third term, Prime Minister Modi has set high standards for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, hoping to win more than 400 seats in the next elections. The promise of a developed India by 2047, embodied in the Viksit Bharat program, is at the heart of the BJP's campaign.

Addressing the recipients as "my dear family members," in line with the BJP's "Modi Ka Parivaar" narrative, the Prime Minister acknowledged the partnership with citizens, highlighting the transformative impact of government schemes. However, opposition parties criticized the BJP's outreach efforts, alleging political propaganda disguised as citizen feedback. Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor shared concerns over privacy violations, citing a UAE-based consultant's post highlighting the unsolicited messages received by non-Indians.

'Viksit Bharat Modi ki guarantee' video vans were introduced by BJP president J. P. Nadda in February, with the aim of gathering suggestions from the public all throughout the country to formulate the party's manifesto for the next Lok Sabha elections.

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