05:57 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Indian Right-Wing Group Launches Campaign for Gov't to Enforce 'Buy Indian' Act

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    A Hindu right-wing group, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), is demanding that India’s top cricket governing body scrap a contract with Chinese mobile handset maker Oppo for sponsoring the country’s national cricket team.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The group, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which professes self-reliance, has launched a campaign to push for indigenous production and consumption of goods, especially reduce India's dependence on exports from China.

    Affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the current ruling BJP government at the Center, the SJM has written to Sports Minister Vijay Goel to force the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to cancel the contract with Oppo. The Chinese handset maker is sponsoring the Indian cricket team, with its logo on the team's new blue jersey for an upcoming tournament.

    "Money cannot be more important than national pride and welfare of our own citizens and industry, and, therefore, we urge you to interfere in the matter and use your good offices to cancel the agreement entered into between Oppo and BCCI. This would not only misguide our youth in blindly going for buying Chinese brands but would also place us in a very awkward position and our campaign is likely to get badly affected by this," SJM's national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said in the letter to Goel.

    Not only that, the group wants Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shun Chinese goods and enforce a "buy Indian act" along the lines of "Buy American, Hire American" espoused by US President Donald Trump.

    Politics, business, sports all are intertwined and should be used to leverage national interests, says Dr. Amit Singh, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi, and Vice-President, ABVP, Delhi. ABVP is the student wing of the RSS and works closely with the BJP and other Sangh Parivar outfits.

    "You cannot separate politics from sports as seen in our ties with Pakistan, why should China be different? Since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, we have imposed a de facto ban on players from Pakistan in the Indian Premier League. China too should be treated at par for supporting Pakistan. Business can be used as leverage against China. They are dependent on exports and India is their largest export destination. Depriving them some business opportunities in India could make them think and force them to take more nuanced position," he told Sputnik.

    Oppo and the BCCI signed a five-year team sponsorship deal worth US$ 167.8 million which was announced by the cricket board on March 7, with the contract commencing on April 1.

    The Chinese mobile firm's bid was almost five times the previous sponsor Star India's bid. The Indian team will wear its new blue jersey with the Oppo logo during the ICC Champions' Trophy.

    In recent months, there has been a sustained social media boycott campaign against many Chinese smartphone companies or other companies such as Paytm where Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is an investor.

    But that hasn't deterred the rise of Chinese brands, especially in smartphones in the country edging out local rivals and challenging Samsung's top rank.




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