Americans of South Asian descent taking centre stage in U.S. politics

Published: November 2, 2012

California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks to the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5, 2012 on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

ARUN KUMAR
IANS

Washington – Whoever wins the tight White House race Nov 6, Indian-Americans are bound to play a key role in the new administration going by their growing clout in American politics.

At 20+, President Barack Obama’s administration already has the highest number of Indian-Americans working in high places and his Democratic party gave a pride of place to them at his nominating convention last August.

So did challenger Mitt Romney’s Republican Party, which boasts of having the only two Indian-American governors, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Both were at one time speculated among Romney’s vice presidential picks.

Rep. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal receives an update on the status of the pumping station at the 17th Street Canal during Hurricane Isaac on Aug. 28, 2012 in Metairie, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The likes of Rajiv “Raj” Shah, the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama team as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Preet Bharara, high-profile U.S. attorney for Manhattan, were not there at the Democratic Convention as they hold government jobs.

But Kamala Harris, 47, the first woman, the first African-American, and the first South Asian to be elected as attorney general of California, was one of the headliners.

The daughter of a Tamil-Indian immigrant mother and a Jamaican-American father, Harris was the second Indian-American to get a primetime speaking spot after Indian-American actor Kal Penn, best known for his Harold and Kumar movies.

Penn, a former White House staffer, had a starring role hosting primetime web coverage when Obama accepted the party’s nomination.

Rajiv “Raj” Shah, the highest ranking Indian-American on the Obama team, is the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Jindal, son of Indian immigrants from Punjab, governor since 2007, could not make it to the Republican convention after Hurricane Isaac hit Louisiana’s southeast coast.

But Haley, born Nikki Nimrata Randhawa in a Sikh immigrant family, was given a key speaking spot. So was another son of Sikh immigrants, Ranjit “Rikky” Gill, 25, who is the lone Indian-American Republican running for Congress from California.

Besides Gill, four Democrats – Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey, Ami Bera from California, Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Syed Taj from Michigan — are also making credible runs for the Congress and dozens more are either holding or seeking seats in state legislatures.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are also out to woo the three million strong Indian-American community as their half a million votes could make a difference in the tight White House race.

Obama and Romney campaigns have placed full page advertisements in local Indian-American ethnic newspapers published from Washington, New York and the West Coast which have large concentrations of the community.

“Barack Obama is not just a president for some of us; he is fighting for all of us,” says a full page ad by the Obama campaign, which is also sending out flyers in Hindi.

“Ready to Go to Work. Vision for a better America. Vote Mitt Romney for President. Promising all my heart to restore strength to America. We will be strong again,” reads an advertisement by Northern California Asian Pacific Islanders Americans.






Featured

BC-court-statue of justice

Surrey man who sexually and physically abused woman receives six years in prison

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW Warning – extremely graphic content/Discretion advised NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey man who cruelly abused a woman over a period of…
Continue Reading »

Surrey BC transport

Surrey LRT plan passes key federal hurdle

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW SURREY — A federal agency overseeing public-private infrastructure projects in Canada has given preliminary approval to Surrey’s application to help fund…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

Q producer who alleges Jian Ghomeshi threatened to ‘hate f—‘ her says she complained to boss in 2010

TOM BLACKWELL NATIONAL POST For a 27-year-old journalism-school graduate, it was the perfect job, helping build and produce a brand-new, national show on CBC Radio…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

BC-court-statue of justice

Surrey man who sexually and physically abused woman receives six years in prison

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW Warning – extremely graphic content/Discretion advised NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey man who cruelly abused a woman over a period of…
Continue Reading »

Surrey BC transport

Surrey LRT plan passes key federal hurdle

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW SURREY — A federal agency overseeing public-private infrastructure projects in Canada has given preliminary approval to Surrey’s application to help fund…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

Q producer who alleges Jian Ghomeshi threatened to ‘hate f—‘ her says she complained to boss in 2010

TOM BLACKWELL NATIONAL POST For a 27-year-old journalism-school graduate, it was the perfect job, helping build and produce a brand-new, national show on CBC Radio…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

health check

Parents of six-year-old girl ‘horrified’ after botched vaccination exposes her to HIV

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old girl is in danger of having contacted HIV after a routine vaccination went awry in Fort St. James earlier…
Continue Reading »

ghost marriage

11 held for digging women’s graves for ‘ghost marriages’

IANS/EFE Beijing – Chinese police have arrested 11 people for allegedly digging up dead women’s bodies from their graves to sell them for rituals known…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

‘Big Ears Teddy’ Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »

ATM-snakes

Bank customer flees after snake found sleeping by ATM machine

CEN AGENCY A bank customer in India fled when he went to use a cashpoint machine and found a four-foot cobra coiled up in front…
Continue Reading »

murder-British-India

Honeymoon murder: Accused husband Shrien Dewani met gay escort three times, court hears

IANS London – An Indian-origin businessman from Britain accused of arranging the murder of his wife in South Africa, met a gay escort three times….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Super Nani: Wah Rekha, Cina-Ma Zindabad!

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Super Nani”; Cast: Rekha, Sharman Joshi, Randhir Kapoor, Anupam Kher; Directed by Indra Kumar; Rating: *** (3 stars) There is…
Continue Reading »

condom-ads-Durex-sex-booty shake

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh says ‘I have only been dumped so far’

IANS Mumbai – Actor Ranveer Singh, who has often been chased by link-up rumours, says so far he has not dumped anyone in his life….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Parineeti Chopra says stop comparing her with cousin Priyanka Chopra

IANS Mumbai – Her cousin Priyanka Chopra is a star. Now, another family member, Mannara, is all set to enter Bollywood with “Zid” and Parineeti…
Continue Reading »