Indian-Americans get prime spots at US presidential conventions

August 21st, 2012 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Bobby Jindal Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) With both the Democratic and Republican parties out to woo the three million strong Indian-American community with its growing political clout, three of them have been given prime spots at the two parties’ presidential conventions.

While California’s Indian-American Attorney General Kamala Harris has won a prime speaking role at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina next month, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley would be among the “headliners” at the Republican National Convention at Tampa Florida next week.

Apart from a speaking slot at the Democratic convention that would endorse President Barack Obama’s run for a second term, Harris, daughter of an Indian mother and an African-American father, is also a co-chair of the Rules Committee.

The first woman attorney general of California, she was the first elected official in the state to endorse Obama during his 2008 run for the White House and campaigned for him during his 2004 Senate run.

In July, Democrats announced that former president Bill Clinton would enter Obama’s name into nomination at the convention, an important symbolic role for the popular Democrat.

Both Jindal, son of Indian immigrants from Punjab, governor of Louisiana since 2007, and Haley, born Nikki Nimrata Randhawa, in a Sikh immigrant family have been named as headliners for the Republican party’s presidential convention starting in Tampa Florida, Aug 27.

Jindal, who spent most of last week in the Midwest stumping for the Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, said in a statement Monday: “I look forward to talking about the important choice facing our nation.”

“We can either go the way of Europe, grow the public sector and make Americans more dependent on government or we can get behind Mitt Romney, reinvigorate the private sector and get our people back to work,” he said.

Meanwhile, five Indian-origin candidates, four Democrats and one Republican have been left in the fray for the simultaneous elections to the US Congress after the primary phase that eliminated four of them.

Gving a tough fight to their opponents are Democrats Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey; Ami Bera from California, Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania; and Syed Taj from Michigan.

Bera, Trivedi and Taj are doctors, while Chivukula is currently deputy speaker of New Jersey assembly.

At 25, lone Republican Ranjit ‘Rikky’ Gill, the unmarried “young gun” from California is the youngest of them all.

Though not of Indian origin Tulsi Gabbard, is set to become the first Hindu to become a member of US Congress as she won the primary contest from a safe Democratic seat from Hawaii.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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