K P George, the candidate for treasurer of Fortbend County, a suburb of Houston, United States, said he has learned some lessons during his campaign. He said he found that discrimination exists, and that the Indian community is fragmented, parochial.
"I believe I have a fair chance to win the election," said George, a financial planner by profession. "After the election too, I will continue my work as a political activist."
Most Indians, he said, have not faced discrimination as long as they keep the limits. "But when you try to get into political office or positions held by a group, they will resent it and come after you. They did not like my enthusiasm and some tried to talk me down," he added.
He said older Americans stick to their outdated views about the Indian community.
"I think people should be scared of the Tea Party movement," he said. "They are speaking of taking back the country. But from whom?"
In his county there are about 7,000 Indian families, but few Indian are voters.
"If we register to vote and stand as a block, others would come after us," he said.
The Asian American Political Action Committee has endorsed him. He said he was interviewed by a political action committee of Indians, but never heard from them after.
He said he now understands why people stay off political contests. "It involves money, time and hard work. The candidate cannot concentrate on his work for longer periods. Moreover, the Indians have no experience in writing checks for campaigns," he said.
George plans to go to churches and temples to galvanise the community. "If we do not gain political power here, we will be at a loss," he said. "We can go back to India. But where will our children go back? This is the only country for them."
His county is predominantly Republican and he is running against the incumbent, Republican County Treasurer Jeff Council.
Neeta Sane, currently a trustee of the Houston Community College, contested as treasurer in 2006. She did not win, but received a sizeable number of votes as a Democrat.
The office of the treasurer oversees the county's financial dealings and the $250 million budget. It ensures all money is utilised legally and properly. It is a paid, full-time post for four years.
Image: K P George