Indian American being racially targetted by Republicans: Senator

November 2nd, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 2 (IANS) Indian American Ashwin Madia, who is contesting as a Democrat the Nov 4 polls to the US House of Representatives, is being racially targeted by his Republican opponent, fearing defeat in a hotly contested Congressional seat in Minnesota, alleges state Senator Satveer Chaudhary.Madia, 30, has been shown having a darker skin colour in an advertisement produced by the National Republican Congressional Committee in support of Republican candidate Erik Paulsen.

“These ads portray Madia as a dark, sinister intruder at best, and at worst a terrorist. It’s the race card,” Minnesota State Senator Chaudhary said.

Chaudhary is one among the few Indian-American state lawmakers in the US and is the first Indian-American senator in Minnesota, where the population of the community is not much.

The advertisements have outraged the local Indian American community, who now plan to take up the issue at the national level.

Chaudhary told IANS over phone from Minneapolis that such a racial attack against Madia was uncalled for.

If elected, Madia would be the third Indian American to become a Congressman after Dalip Singh Saund in the late 1950s and Bobby Jindal a few years ago. Jindal is now the governor of Louisiana.

Madia, an Iraq veteran, is giving a tough fight to his Republican rival from this largely white electorate seat in the Minneapolis suburb, which traditionally has been a Republican seat.

Republican Navraj Singh is the other Indian American to contest for a Congressional seat in the Nov 4 election. Pitted against Brad Sherman in the 27th Congressional District of California, pollsters give Singh little chance to win the election.

Madia is not only giving a tough fight to the Republican rival, but is also being tipped by pollsters to enter the House of Representatives from this Minnesota seat.

“The irony of it all is that Ashwin is the only candidate who has actually fought terrorism for America on the front lines. He has earned the Democratic endorsement for US Congress as a combat veteran, middle-class American, and son of immigrants,” Chaudhary said.

In an appeal issued to the supporters of the Republican Party in the Third Congressional District of Minnesota, from where Madia is contesting, Chaudhary urged them to “reject this assassination of a combat veteran”, and vote for Madia in the name of common decency.

“We should not look back and regret that good people did nothing, as a military veteran was eviscerated in the name of race politics,” he said.

Chaudhary had also been racially targetted when he was contesting for the first time.

A Republican member of the Minnesota House had then said: “Columbia Heights will never elect a guy named Satveer Chaudhary to the Minnesota House of Representatives.”

In 1996, his opponent told him to find his soul because he was not Christian.

“Being told you cannot succeed because of who you are is an experience shared by many Minnesotans, minority or not. These ads are not an attack on Madia, but all of us … It’s time to break the stereotypes, it’s time to break the mould, it’s time to turn the page on the politics of old,” he said.

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