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Home > News > PTI

10 Indian-Americans in US Congressional polls

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC | November 06, 2006 21:11 IST

As many as 10 Indian-Americans will try their luck at the state level in the elections to the US House of Representatives and the Senate on Tuesday, a contest on which the community is keeping a close watch.

Unlike two years ago when there was a lot of interest in Louisiana where Bobby Jindal made it to the House of Representatives and the first representative of the Indian American community in some five decades, this time for the most part the attention is at the state level.

Some veterans like Kumar Barve from Maryland are expected to breeze through, not because of the grand old party taking a hammering at the polls but on his own accomplishments at the state level since 1990 when he first entered politics.

Yet at the national level there is interest in Pennsylvania where a maverick 31-year-old Raj Peter Bhakta is on the Republican ticket trying to unseat a Democratic incumbent.

Bhakta has made news not only by being a star in Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" but also in his seeking to prove the point that America's borders are pretty lax when it comes to enforcement.

Bhakta recently made news -- riding an elephant and along with a mariarchi band -- crossing a point in the Rio Grande without being hauled up by enforcement officers. Bhakta is a Republican novice with tough immigration credentials trying to make it on November 7.

But by and large the focus on and of the Indian American community has been at the purely local level races.

Apart from Kumar Barve, two others are looking at continuing their careers at the state level are Satveer Chaudhury, the young Indian-American who won a seat in the Minnesota State House of Representatives in 2000.

Chaudhury, who became the state's first Indian American Senator in 2000, is seeking to keep his seat.

Also seeking the third term in the Iowa State House of Representatives is Swathi Dandekar who won by a handsome margin for the first time in 2002.

There are other Indian Americans who have thrown their hats into the ring for this Tuesday's race. The list will include Rano Singh of Arizona seeking the state's Treasurer's post. Singh immersed herself in politics soon after the killing of Balbir Singh Sodhi in a hate crime that followed the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

26-year-old Jay Goyal seeking a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives; Raj Goyal is seeking a seat in Kansas; Dilip Paliath is seeking a seat in Maryland as an independent;and 52-year-old Neeraj Nigam, a systems analyst is in the fray as an independent in Virginia.

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