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Rediff.com  » News » 'Bush's brain' to keynote Indian-Amercian Republican meet

'Bush's brain' to keynote Indian-Amercian Republican meet

August 31, 2006 21:24 IST

Karl Rove, deputy White House chief of staff and senior advisor and assistant to President George W Bush, will keynote the first convention and conference of the Indian American Republican Council to be held on Capitol Hill, September 6-7.

Several senior members of Congress are also billed to address the conference – to be held at the Capitol Hill Club on 300 First Street, Southeast, Washington, DC – including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, Senators John Cornyn, Texas Republican and co-chair of the Friends of India Caucus, Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, George Allen, Virginia Republican, and US Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and GOP co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, Ed Royce, California Republican and former co-chair of the India Caucus, Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican and immediate past GOP co-chair of the India Caucus, and Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Republican, and the only Indian American US lawmaker, among others.

Two Indian American Republican candidates, Raj Bhakta, who is running for the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's District 13, and Dilip Paliath, who is seeking the District 42 seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, will also be addressing the conferees and seeking their support and contributions to fund their campaigns for the final stretch.

Royce and Wilson are also slated to address the topics 'Facing Global Terrorism,' and 'Campaigns 101:Do's and Don'ts' respectively, while several panel discussions, including one on immigration is also on the cards.

Dr Raghavendra Vijayanagar, founder and chairman of the IARC, told rediff India Abroad the main theme of the conference would be the Republican races in November and how party members can work towards retaining the Senate as well as the House.

"We feel that maintaining the majorities in both these houses is vital for the country so that the President can complete his job and accomplish his goals, particularly in spreading the message of the Republican Party fighting the war on terror. That's going to be the number one issue, but there will be also be much discussion on the economy, Medicare, health issues, foreign policy and so on," he added.

Also on the cards are discussions on how to help Republican Indian-American candidates like Dilip Paliath and Raj Bhakta get elected. He said this was the first time such an ambitious IARC convention and conference was being held, that too on Capitol Hill.

Vijayanagar said the conference would also be the launching pad for "an IARC-PAC (political action committee). The board has already approved the formation of this PAC and we are going to be raising some funds… at the conference so that we have an effective voice in the November elections."

 Vijayanagar said some people at the RNC with experience running PACs would help organize the PAC.

"When we live in the United States we need to learn how politics work, how the society works, how it is structured and everything else," he said. " That's my goal, because you cannot afford to be middle of the road, sitting on the fence…. If we do that, we'll never make any progress in either party. We've got to identify what is the philosophy we believe in and pick out which party best addresses our philosophy and convictions and move strongly in the direction and agenda of that party- whether it is Democratic or Republican – because, at the end of the day, it doesn't work any other way."

Vijayanagar said that the IARC "is blessed that we have a young team of leaders," and singled out Dino Teppara, legislative director to Wilson; Suhail Khan and Shayam Menon, who are with the commerce and education departments, respectively; Ajay Kuntamukkala, an attorney, and the new executive director Radha Krishnan, as the anchors of that team.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC