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Indian Americans emerging as fundraising force in 2012 presidential poll campaign


August 12, 2011 - Washington

Indian Americans are emerging as a fundraising force in the 2012 campaign season, a move that is widely viewed as an initiative to expand the community's political influence in the country.

According to Politico, the Indian-American cash-raisers include Congressional hopefuls like Ami Bera, a California physician, Raja Krishnamoorthi, a former Illinois deputy state treasurer, and 24-year-old Ricky Gill, a University of California at Berkeley law student who is running for a San Joaquin County-area House seat and who hauled in 446,000 dollars during the second quarter.

"Indian Americans have been very successful in business, technology, medicine and education, but they don't see parallel success in Washington," Krishnamoorthi, whose 400,000 dollar plus second-quarter fundraising report included a long list of Indian American donors, said.

"There are a lot of folks who want to see this mission succeed - to see more Indian Americans elected to Congress," he added.

Indian-Americans are gradually emerging in American politics, and few of the prominent names include Dalip Singh Saud, a California Democrat who served in the House from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, and Louisiana GOP Governor Bobby Jindal. n 2010 South Carolina Republican Nikki Haley, who is of Sikh heritage, became the second Indian American Governor in U.S. history, and California Democrat Kamala Harris, who is half Indian, was elected state Attorney General.

Kathy Kulkarni, president of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, said that there has been a forceful early push among Indian American donors to throw their financial backing to the crop of 2012 contenders.

"I think there is a lot of excitement on the Democratic and Republican sides because we are underrepresented in Congress. There is a desire that's stronger than ever to see more Indian representation, and it's growing," she said.

Anil Mammen, a veteran Democratic consultant and former top staffer at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that the community that has been residing there for a generation or more is taking more interest in getting more involved with public life there.

"This is not what I saw when I came to Washington in the 1980s. There weren't Indians on the Hill. There weren't Indians running for Congress," another Indian-American said.

ANI

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