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Nearly a dozen Indian-Americans emerge strong contenders for US midterms

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Nearly a dozen Indian-Americans, some of them part of the so-called 'Caucus', have emerged as strong contenders for Tuesday's high-profile US midterm polls taking place at a time when the anti-immigrant sentiment is at its peak in the country.

The emergence of a large number of young Indian-Americans reflects the growing desire of this small ethnic community comprising just one per cent of the US population of 32.57 crores.

"It has been incredible to see the rise of Indian-Americans in US politics," Rich Verma, the former US to India, told PTI.

This election could be transformational - sending a number of new members into the of Representatives and state legislatures as well, observed Verma, who has campaigned for several of the Indian-Americans running for offices.

All the four Indian-American lawmakers in the present of Representatives are expected to easily sail through on Tuesday's midterm polls.

They are three-term Congressman from the seventh Congressional district of and three first timers, who are seeking their re-election: Ro Khanna from 17th Congressional District of California, from eighth Congressional District of and Congresswoman from seventh Congressional District of

The four incumbents are joined by seven other Indian-Americans on the ballot for the of Representatives.

The mid-term elections will take place in the middle of Donald Trump's four-year term. All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the US will be up for grabs.

About 39 state and territorial governorships and numerous other state and local elections will also be contested.

Successful Shiv Ayyadurai is the sole Indian-American to be running for He has pitched himself as an independent against the powerful - a potential - for the seat in

But they are not all. According to some unofficial estimates, more than 100 Indian-Americans are running for various elected offices across the country.

"This year, nearly 100 Indian-Americans ran for office in all levels of government, including some who could flip House seats from red to blue," said John Santos, AAPI media of

These candidates have put districts in play that Trump won because they are talking about the issues that matter to voters, like protecting access to quality and affordable and investing in higher education, Santos said.

"The DNC is proud to have the backs of Indian-American candidates running up and down the ticket who are working hard to engage diverse constituencies and expand participation of communities who often feel ignored and left behind," the spokeperson said.

"From Arizona, to Texas, Ohio, and beyond we have a great slate of Indian-American candidates. I hope that our number (in the Congress) increases," Congressman told PTI in an interview.

Krishnamoorthi, who has raised more than USD 5 million, according to latest figures of the Federal Election Commission, had coined the term "Caucus", the unofficial group of five Indian-Americans in the current

When Bera was elected for the for the first time six years ago, he had hoped that in a decade, the number of Indian-Americans would be in double digit.

If 'Desis for Progress' are to be believed, the community is moving in that direction. At least three of the Indian-Americans are locked up in toss-up races Tipirneni, Kulkarni and Pureval.

this week also listed out the three Indian-Americans as the ones who could make a difference in their races.

Verma feels the only way to give the Indian-American candidates a chance to serve is to get out and vote.

"The stakes are so high. This is the most important election of my lifetime," Verma said.

The former American said he was disappointed and concerned at the "racist, anti-immigrant" closing argument of and thinks fearmongering should concern all Americans, particularly immigrants.

"We have to stand up and be heard at the ballot box so we can stamp out the fear and hate, and prop up the terrific crop of candidates who have shown the courage to run and who are running on a very positive, inclusive and pro-growth agenda," he said.

Krishnamoorthi echoed Verma, saying it all starts with voters getting out and making sure that their voice is heard on the election day.

"I want to see greater number (of Indian-Americans for elected office) and I'd like to see them happen across the geographic landscape," he said.

The high-stakes midterm elections are being held at a time when many Republican candidates have been echoing Trump's message of boosting border security and cracking down on illegal immigration.

Trump recently said he will cut aid to 3 Central American countries for their failure to stop a migrant caravan of thousands of people from moving towards the US with the aim to enter illegally.

The has also threatened to reform the H-1B foreign workers visa programme which will be part of a skills- and merit-based legal immigration system.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 16:35 IST