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Indians in Florida solidly behind Obama
Arun Sivasankaran in Miami
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November 05, 2008 06:03 IST
Last Updated: November 05, 2008 06:03 IST

Indians living in Florida [Images] seems to have thrown their considerable weight behind Barack Obama [Images], if one were to go by comments from a cross section of society in different parts of one of the largest swing states in the United States presidential election, with 27 electoral college votes on offer.

Moushumi Das, a Tallahassee resident, was expecting long queues when she went to vote Tuesday morning but was pleasantly surprised. "I think early voting days had longer queues. I was out of the place in less than ten minutes."

Moushumi says she voted for Obama for "his policies and beliefs." "I am a registered independent but I like the plans he has for the country. We need change and I think he is going to deliver."

Ramesh Krishna Iyer, son of former Indian Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, is a registered independent living in South Florida who feels "the world will be doomed if McCain wins the elections.

"Over the last one month, I have knocked on doors for six to seven hours every day, asking people to vote for Obama. The last time I did door-to-door canvassing was for Carter in 1980. Obama is the right person with the right ideas. McCain comes to you with tired, old ideas. He was also lying big time during his campaign; I don't like people lying to me.

"Obama is calm, cool and collected," Ramesh said. "I think he is going to win, but it will be at least five years before things get back to normal. The Republicans have destroyed the world with their ideas. The ground force for Obama in Florida is far superior to that of McCain. In this state alone, there are at least 200,000 volunteers working for him."

Dilip Amin, from Gainesville in Central Florida, did not have to wait in a queue when he went to vote Tuesday. "People are definitely more involved this time; people had to wait for two hours to vote during early voting days. I voted for Obama as he is young and energetic. I also like his choice of Joe Biden as Vice President. Most of my friends here are also supporting Obama."

Felix Campos, who has lived in South Florida ever since he came from Bombay (now Mumbai) 38 years ago, is a registered Democrat. That, however, did not stop him from voting for Ronald Reagan two times.

The choice was simple this time, Felix said.

"I always vote for the person, and not on party lines. The fact that I am a registered Democrat does not influence my decision. This time, I voted for Obama because he will unite the country. He will reach across the aisle and work with people from both parties. He comes across as a very sincere person. I think he will bring back the credibility and respect that the U.S. lost under Bush. I think he has the blessings and goodwill of the rest of the world."

Madan Arora, who retired from UNICEF and now lives in Orlando, said he has a gut feeling that Obama will win comfortably. "I have a few Indian friends who told me that even though they are Republicans, they will vote for Obama this time. We did a survey among seniors in this area; Obama won comfortably. I support him as well; I decided to vote for him after hearing him speak."

Alka Shukla, who lives in Orlando, voted a week ago. "On election day, you normally have to wait for hours. I did not want that. I voted for Obama, as did many of my friends. We need a change. Let us try him out now. The last eight years have been really bad for the country."

Prasad Kumar Naik, who owns a restaurant in South Florida, feels a change at the helm will help improve business that has "suffered substantially."  "McCain will not bring in anything new if he becomes President. We need more jobs here so that people will start spending more. I am 110 percent sure Obama will win. Most of my friends too are on the blue side this time, even if they voted for the Republican Party earlier."

Pramod Kumar, a student in Jacksonville, has been in the country only for three years. He says he regrets not being able to vote. "Obama deserves to win. I have been quite busy over the last few weeks asking everyone in the Indian community here to vote for him. I feel I have done my bit in making history."

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