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Indian American candidates lose at the hustings

Posted on Nov 11, 04:11PM | UNI

None of the Indian-Americans who had contested in the US congressional elections could succeed in their attempt.

However, there is a silver-lining for India and the community in the US as the first Hindu was elected to the US Congress earlier this week. Ms Tulsi Gabbard, a white American, who proclaims her religion as Hinduism, is set to become the first such member of Congress when it is convened in January.

Dr Ami Bera, the Indian-American Democrat who is in a close race with his Republican counterpart, has a slight edge of 50 to 49 per cent when most of the votes polled were counted.

Other Indian-American congressional candidates lost their bids. Mr Upendra Chivukula, currently the Democratic American party member of the New Jersey Assembly, conceded defeat to his GOP opponent. Part of the blame for his loss was attributed to storm Sandy, which affected many of his constituents including some Indian-American families.

Chivukula, the first-generation Indian-American lawmaker in any US state, continues to be the New Jersey Assembly representative.

Republican Ricky Gill, an Indian-American, was defeated by incumbent Jerry McNerney, a Democrat, in the ninth congressional district in California.

Tom McClintock, a Republican incumbent overcame Desi Jack Uppal of the Democratic Party from the fourth congressional district in California.

Similarly, Dr Syed Taj, a Bihar native, unsuccessfully ran on the Democratic ticket from Michigan's 11 congressional district.

Dr Bera, a lifelong Californian of the Democratic Party, acknowledged it was a "close race" with his opponent.

"But we remain confident that the voters of Sacramento County voted for new leadership that puts the people first," said Dr Bora, who was endorsed by former president Bill Clinton.

On November 8, the Sacramento County Registrar announced that Bera had increased his lead against Dan Lungren, a Republican in the seventh congressional seat. "Bera is now ahead by 1,779 votes," a press release by the Indian-American contestant yesterday said.

Neither has Dr Bera declared victory nor Mr Lungren acknowledged defeat and both seemed to be prepared for a long drawn-out battle.

"Our race remains one of the closest contests in the nation.

There are tens of thousands of absentees and provisional ballots still to be counted and we may not know the outcome of this race for days or even weeks," Mr Lungren said in a statement released by his campaign.

"We remain cautiously optimistic and will monitor the final count closely,"Mr Lungren added.

Democrat Ms Gabbard, who is a former councilwoman from Honolulu, Hawaii, easily won from the state's second congressional district by defeating Kawika Crowley of the Republican Party.

Ms Gabbard said her religious faith would help ensure better relations between India and the US.

"Hopefully the presence of an American in Congress who happens to be Hindu will increase America's understanding of India as well as India's understanding of America," Religion News Service quoted her as saying.

She was elected to the Hawaii state legislature in 2002, at 21.