NRG netas of US
Posted on March 28, 2012
Indians seem to be gaining clout in US politics with over 50 Indian Americans contesting elections this year. From only two names – Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley – in the early 2000s to at least 12 candidates winning various elections in 2010, Indian Americans have a marked presence today on the national and local political arena of the US.
Ahmedabad’s Niranjan Patel is all set to contest for state elections in 2014. “The name Barack Hussein Obama inspired a lot of us and it made us feel that we could also contest,” he said. Patel had also contested for Ohio state senate elections in 2010 in which he got 33% votes; it was his first electoral run.
Gujaratis in the US, who so far kept a low profile despite being powerful fund-raisers for politicians, have started contesting polls. “The secondgeneration Indian Americans have the luxury to pursue and participate in politics,” said Vivek Bavda, an attorney in Chicago and a resident of Mundelein. He is the third candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for the revamped 10th Congressional district seat in the November 2012 general election.
Sanjay Puri, the chairman and founder of the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), said, “There is a strong rise in the number of Indian Americans joining politics, mainly from second generation of Indian American families.” He said that currently two Indian Americans were serving as governors. “Several members of the state assemblies as well as local political leaders are Indian Americans. And the number is growing,” he said.
A l a r g e number of Indian Americans are now contesting elections with the support of community networks across the US, which provide necessary infrastructure to run elect i o n campaigns. USINPAC, o n e such network, is a 10-year-old bipartisan political action committee that serves as a catalyst for the entry of Indian Americans into the political process.
Chandu Patel, the chairman of National Federations of Indian-American Associations (NFIA), said: “We provide bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office and this time, the network has a long list of 33 candidates running for various elections in 2012.”
Recently, 29-year-old Ohio state representative Jay Goyal was honoured for being among the ’40-Under 40′ rising political leaders by a leading magazine. Also on that list were Republican governor Bobby Jindal, 39, of Louisiana; and Nikki Haley, 38, South Carolina’s first South Asian and first woman governor. The new names added to the lengthy list of Indian American House contenders are Amerish Bera, a physician and medical school administrator whose California district includes Sacramento. Others are lawyer and state Representative Raj Goyle, of Wichita, Kansas; and attorney Ravi Sangisetty (28) of Houma, Louisiana, whose rural district takes in 13 south-eastern parishes. And the list goes on. Gujarati-origin Manan Trivedi, 36, a doctor, is the Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional district of Pennsylvania. These candidates co-ordinate across parties to jointly shape policies that affect the Indian American community and the US-India relations.
Expats taking poll positions Currently, of the three candidates running for US Congress seats – Dr Ami Bera, Manan Trivedi and Raja Krishnamoorthi – Bera and Trivedi are of Gujarat-origin. Niranjan Patel (Democrat), who was a candidate for the House of Representatives from Ohio’s 12th district in 2010, is to again run for the same seat in 2014. “Indians in the US are following the example of Jewish community’s co-ordination methods,” he said. “They have also learnt to affirm their political connections, and thus are coming out more freely to contest elections than before.” Ashvin Lad (Republican) ran for the US House of Representatives from Illinois’s 5th district in 2010. “Running a campaign for a fresh candidate can be daunting at times but with community support, many like me are gearing up,” he said. Manan Trivedi is a physician and war veteran who is the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district. “I am running a strong local campaign,” he said. “USINPAC is an important ally in my campaign for the Congress as it gives me the ability to generate a national reach across the Indian American community.” Tony Patel, an architect, is the Republican candidate running for State House of Representatives, district 47, Georgia. “I entered politics as I felt the need to give the Indian American community a unified voice in our political process,” he said.
Priya Adhyaru Majithia
26 Mar 2012
Ami Bera, Barack Hussein Obama, Bobby Jindal, Chairman, Congress, Democratic candidate, House of Representatives, Jay Goyal, Manan Trivedi, Networks, Nikki Haley, Niranjan Patel, Raj Goyle, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ravi Sangisetty, Republican governor, Sacramento, Sanjay Puri, The National, Tony Patel, U.S. Congress, United States, Vivek Bavda, Wichita Kansas