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Obama win: 'We were stunned when the result came in early'

Last updated on: November 12, 2012 20:45 IST

Obama win: 'We were stunned when the result came in early'

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Aziz Haniffa

Indian Americans Shalini Kapoor Collins and Shefali Razdan Duggal, who raised millions for Barack Obama, celebrated the victory in Chicago. Aziz Haniffa reports

Two Indian-American women in California, who between the two of them 'bundled' millions of dollars for President Barack Obama's Victory Fund, were both in Chicago on election night on November 6 to celebrate the victory into the wee hours of the morning.

Shalini 'Shelly' Kapoor Collins, founder and chief executive officer, Enscient Corporation, and Shefali Razdan Duggal, a homemaker and soccer mom, both from the Bay Area, served on the Platform and Credential Committee, respectively. Both were surprised when the networks called the election so early in the evening.

Collins -- who joined the tech community in Silicon Valley in rallying behind Obama's efforts, and, as part of the Technology Innovator Series, did six videos in collaboration with the campaign to project Obama's drive to encourage and support technology innovation -- said, "It was the most surprising moment of the night."

"While we at the Obama campaign were confident that the President would be re-elected, we were all so stunned when the result was called so early into the evening... As you can imagine there were a lot of happy tears, hugs and high-fives all around. Our hard work of the last two years came to fruition."

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Image: Shalini Kapoor Collins with President Barack Obama, a couple of days before the election
Photographs: Shalini Kapoor Collins

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Duggal said November 6 'was an extremely fulfilling and profoundly wonderful moment for all of us... I had the good fortune of attending election day/night activities in Chicago, and whilst each moment was intermingled with tension and excitement, when the instant arrived when the election results were confirmed, the entire room erupted in absolute gratitude and excitement."

"President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney did clash aggressively throughout the last many months, although it came from a place which reflected a love of country within each of their hearts," she said.

"While campaigns can be messy and sometimes challenging to experience, we, the citizens of the United States, must always remember that the privilege of voting is truly a blessing, and folks in many lands around the world are struggling to achieve this same privilege."

"The Governor's concession speech was graceful and humble. The President's acceptance speech extended a hand out to Governor Romney to work together within the next few months, as well as outlined some of the President's goals during the next four years," she added.

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Image: Shefali Razadan Duggal, right, with fellow fundraiser Shonda Scott at the Obama campaign's headquarters in Chicago a few seconds after the news was announced that the President won
Photographs: Shefali Razadan Duggal

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'We were stunned when the result came in early'

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Duggal's 'favourite moment from the speech' was when the President spoke of hope: 'And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.'

'I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.'

'And together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.'

She said she was hopeful that Obama would make a tangible difference in terms of improving education, expanding technology, reducing the national debt, facilitating equality within all aspects, combating global warming, securing national defence and fighting for the middle class.

"I am looking forward to continuing to be helpful, in some small way, within this marvelous democratic political process," she added.

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Image: Collins celebrates with Vice President Biden in Chicago
Photographs: Shalini Kapoor Collins

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Collins said the impact of Obama's re-election on Silicon Valley would be a major shot in the arm for the technology industry.

"The President has stated repeatedly that he wants America to out-build, out-educate and out-innovate every country in the world," she said.

"As a woman in technology, I stand by the President's efforts to make our nation number one in education and technology. He is the most technology forward President ever and I am proud to be part of his technology efforts."

"Having said this, I feel that he will continue to make jobs his number one priority in the second term. This is exemplified by his focus on workforce development, his drive of reinventing the Advanced Manufacturing industry as a tech-savvy industry as opposed to labor-intensive so more people will opt for careers in that arena, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education starting in K-12."

Like Duggal, she was hopeful, despite the likelihood of a gridlock since the Republicans retained the House of Representatives.

"With a Democratic President," she said, "a Democratic majority in the Senate and Republican House, I feel this time around we will see less partisanship and more cooperation and handshaking across the aisle to get our country and economy moving forward."

"This is not about making the President more or less successful, it's about setting up our country to be globally competitive and staying that way for generations and years to come, about maintaining our standing in the world."


Image: From left, political consultant Junelle Cavero, fundraiser Shonda Scott, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Shefali Razadan Duggal backstage, as they waited for the President to speak to them
Photographs: Shefali Razadan Duggal

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