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Rediff.com  » News » Governor Haley snubs Democrats charge on 'white' listing

Governor Haley snubs Democrats charge on 'white' listing

August 10, 2011 00:04 IST

Indian American Republican South Carolina Governor Nimrata 'Nikki' Randhawa Haley, has absolutely no intention of responding to state Democrats who upon seizing a 10-year-old voter registration document, where she has listed her race as 'W' for white, have charged that she uses her Indian American heritage when its convenient.

Haley's close aides told rediff.com that she had chosen "to completely ignore this pathetic attempt" by the Democrats led by South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, and would "not address this issue at all, which has no merit, because everything that was thrown at her during the campaign were addressed fully, and now her key focus is to serve the people of South Carolina."

Harpootlian had said the 2001 document the party had unearthed showed that Haley, the first woman governor in South Carolina, who is of Sikh heritage, plays on her race for political convenience. "She can't even tell the truth about her racial heritage," Harpootlian was quoted as saying.

Haley's father, Professor Ajit Randhawa, told rediff.com that "it is sad that they are pulling out something from over 10 years ago without knowing the context or the circumstances."

Haley's close friends, supporters and major fund-raisers also sprang to her defense and lashed out at Harpootlian and the rest of the state Democrats who were attempting to make a controversy over this apparent 10-year-old document.

Columbia, South Carolina resident Bhavna Vasudeva, a close friend of Haley's and along with her husband, Dr Raj Vasudeva, major fund-raisers for Haley since the time she launched her political career, said, "After Mr Obama got elected President, I thought to myself America has become color blind."

Vasudeva, continuing to fire her salvos at Harpootlian said, "Why on earth would we let a bitter man who resents the first female governor distract us with this nonsense? He and other like him have spent more time trying to run Governor Haley since she was elected representative than doing the jobs they were elected to do."

But Toby Chaudhuri, a veteran Democratic political strategic said, "Nikki Haley is an attractive conservative vying from a historically white-only party in a Dixie state. Haley should answer the charges against her and correct the mistake instead of throwing masala in the eyes of voters."

But in mainstream Democratic circles and nationally, this controversy was gaining no traction at all, and most senior Democrats and those in the Democratic National Committee seemingly have ignored this.

Since privacy laws prohibit the release of Haley's driver's license application, it was unclear how she may have identified herself when getting it renewed, now that the new forms had several racial categories.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC