M A I N   N E W S

Bobby Jindal wins from Louisiana
Ashish Sen

Washington, November 3
In the murkiness of an undecided election, the Indian American community had some cause for cheer as Republican candidate Bobby Jindal made history becoming only the second person of Indian origin to be elected to the US Congress. Dilip Singh Saund of California was elected to the US Congress in 1956.

Mr Jindal (33) trounced his five opponents polling 78 per cent or 2,13,610 votes. His nearest Democrat rival Roy Armstrong polled 7 per cent or 18,531 votes. Mr Jindal will represent the first district that covers New Orleans.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1971, Mr Jindal dropped his first name “Piyush” at the age of four in favour of Bobby after a character on the popular TV show “The Brady Bunch.” He was raised a Hindu but later converted to Catholicism.

In 2001, President Bush nominated the then 29-year-old Mr Jindal Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He quit his post to run in the Louisiana gubernatorial race, which he lost.

“I think the relationships I developed within the administration and the experience I gained while in Washington will enable me to have a great impact for the First District on my first day of service,” Mr Jindal said at the start of his congressional campaign.

“I have been accused of being in a hurry in life,” Mr Jindal told supporters during the November gubernatorial election. “I do not see how we could be anything but in a hurry.”

IANS adds: On the same day, Maharashtra-born Swati Dandekar won her re-election bid to the Iowa state assembly and Nikki Randhawa Haley moved unchallenged into the South Carolina state assembly.

Their victories take the number of Indian-origin men and women in state assemblies — the equivalent of state legislators — in the US to five. The other three are Kumar Barve in Maryland, Satveer Chaudhary in Minnesota and Upendra Chivukula in New Jersey.

In Iowa, Dandekar, 53, a graduate of Nagpur University and Bombay University who came 30 years ago, defeated her opponent Cory Crowley by 10 percentage points in her re-election race in the Republican majority district.

In South Carolina, Haley, 32, a Republican from District 87, became the first Indian American to hold elected office in the state.

She is the third Indian American woman to make it to a state assembly, after Dandekar in Iowa and Nimi McConigley, who was elected to Wyoming state house in 1996.

Haley, whose parents are from Amritsar, was born and brought up in North Carolina and she says she feels a great sense of responsibility not just to her constituents but also to the Indian American community.

There were 17 persons of Indian origin in the race for various positions at the state, city and town levels.

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