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Indian-Americans galore at Obama's state dinner

March 15, 2012 15:43 IST

Several prominent Indian-Americans attended the high-profile White House state dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama in honour of British Prime Minister David CameronĀ in Washington, DC.

This was Obama administration's sixth state dinner which started with the first state dinner hosted by the president for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009.

However, this was the largest state dinner of the Obama administration with 362 guests, more than 100 of whom walked through the entrance hall packed with media known as the Booksellers Area last night.

Raj Shah, the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama administration, was accompanied by his wife Shivam Mallick Shah.

The first woman Indian-American and African Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, was accompanied by her sister Maya Harris, who currently is the vice president for Peace & Social Justice at the Ford Foundation, according to the list of guests released by the White House.

Obama also used the occasion to invite one of his prominent Indian-American fund raiser from Chicago, Rajiv Kumar Fernando.

According to open source, Fernando, who is in chopper trading, has raised between $200,000 to $500,000.

According to ABC news 41 of the 364 invited guests at the state dinner were Obama campaign bundlers or volunteer fundraisers who give the legal maximum and then gather checks from friends and colleagues who do the same.

"The group attending the dinner tonight is responsible for at least $10.7 million of the roughly $250 million Obama and Democrats have amassed for the election cycle so far," it said.

Dr Arun Majumdar, director at Advanced Research Projects Agency -- Energy, US Department of Energy, accompanied the US Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Amit A Pandya, who is currently with the Washington office of the Open Society Institute, and previous served in the various capacities in the US Government, accompanied Cecilia Munoz, assistant to the US president and director, Domestic Policy Council.

According to a White House Foreign Pool report, the guests arrived by trolleys at a large tent that was set up near the White House Fountain.

The fountain was lit up with different colours that changed from time to time.

US first lady Michelle Obama, wore a sheer, dark teal floor-length gown that has a short train in the back and ruching at the waist.

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