US elections: Indian-Americans pin their hope on Nikki Haley, Ami Bera and Ro Khanna

Nov 04, 2014, 15:34 IST | PTI

Washington: More than two dozen Indian- Americans are in electoral fray for the crucial US elections, but all eyes would be on three young leaders --South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Congressman Ami Bera and Ro Khanna, who have made a mark in the country's politics.

The results of the elections will start flowing from tomorrow morning. The three million small but strong India-American community has pinned its hope on Haley, Bera and Khanna. The elections range from State governorship to the House of Representative, state legislatures and city council seat.

Topping the list is Nikki Haley, who is seeking her second term as Governor of South Carolina. A rising Republican star, top leaders of the party including several presidential hopefuls former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Indian have campaigned for her.

If opinion polls are to be believed, she is all set for her re-election. In fact, she is so confident of her victory that Haley has already planned for her maiden trip to India as South Carolina Governor soon after here electoral win. Political pundits say, her re-election would bring her on national platform.

Of the four Indian-American Congressional candidates, three Bera and Khanna from California, Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania are from the Democratic Party, while Arvin Vohra from the Maryland is seeking entry into the House of Representatives on a Libertarian Party ticket. Bera, a physician by profession, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, making him only the third Indian-American Congressmen after Dalip Sing Saund and Bobby Jindal.

Bera, who had won the 2012 elections on a small margin, on Monday received a last minute boost to his campaign with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, recording a phone call in his favor. Last week, former US President Bill Clinton had campaigned for him. On the eve of the elections, Bing predicted Bera of 62 per cent chances of winning the elections.

Nationwide, all eyes would be glued on one young Democratic leader, Khanna, who has hired services of the Obama re-election campaign to challenge his own partyman Mike Honda from 17th Congressional District of California, which is the hub of the Silicon Valley. In the closing days of the campaign, latest opinion polls showed Khanna and Honda were running neck and neck, with the latter having an edge over the Indian-American.

Republican Neel Keshkari is running an impressive gubernatorial campaign in the Democratic bastion of California. There are slim chances of him winning the elections. He did get endorsement of top Republican leaders including Jub Bush and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

Veteran Iraq war veteran Manan Trivedi is trying his luck for the third time, but opinion polls are not giving him any chance of winning the elections. Same is the case with Arvin Vohra, 35, from Maryland seeking entry into the House of Representatives on a Libertarian Party ticket.

Incumbent California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was first elected in 2010 is running for re-election against Republican candidate Ronald Gold. She is expected to win her second four-year term. There are quite a few Indian-American candidates running for State legislatures.

Incumbents Kumar Bharve from Maryland, Janak Joshi (Colorado) a retired physician, Prasad Srinivasan from Connecticut, Democrat Sam Singh (Michigan), Latha Manigpudi from New Hampshire and Aruna Miller and Sam Arora (both from Maryland) are seeking their re-election. Several Indian Americans are trying their luck to enter their State legislatures.

This includes Republican Anand Dubey in the far away Alaska and Michael Gidwani (Arizona), independent Shakoor Ahmed and Republican Jody Venkatesan from Maryland, Becky Sharma from Missouri, Nalin Mehta (North Carolina), Pramila Jayapal and Satpal Sidhu from Washington State.

If elected, Niraj Antani, 23, would be the youngest ever member to be elected to the Ohio State legislature. In Illinois, three Indian-Americans are seeking their luck for State Legislature. They are Krishna Bansal, Mo Khan and Laddi Singh all from the Democratic Party.

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