Indian-Americans play role in Obama, Romney campaigns

Washington: Recognising the importance of Indian-Americans in US political dynamics, both Obama and Romney campaigns have entrusted key roles to members of the community with the presidential elections less than 100 days away.

It is not only the two Indian-American Governors Nikki Haley from South Carolina and Bobby Jindal from Louisiana who are leading the pack for the Romney Campaigns, but there are many Indian-Americans from across the country who have been entrusted with key positions and playing an important role for the Republican party in the run up to the November 6 presidential elections.

Dr Sampat Shivangi, an eminent Indian-American from Mississippi, chaired a fund raiser event in the State attended by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee.

The event raised USD 1.7 million, one of the highest ever raised by a comparatively small state like Mississippi. "President Obama`s tirade against India on outsourcing has really changed his image in majority of the Indian-Americans. His television advertisements day in day out have taken warpath to disgrace India as the problem for joblessness in US which is untrue," Shivangi told PTI in defence of his support for Romney.

"This is a global economy and many Indian IT companies` likes of Infosys and Wipro have provided ample jobs for US citizens. His recent remarks about India have not been gone well within India. Even mild-mannered Prime Minister of India Manmohan Sigh has rebuked his remarks," Shivangi said.

Shivangi has been elected as a full delegate from state of Mississippi to National Republican Party Convention to be held in Tampa, Florida from August 25 to August 31.

This is the third consecutive time that he has been elected as a delegate for the Republican Convention and first Indian-American from his State.

This week, Romney roped in Akshay Desai, the Indian American from Florida, to campaign among Asian-Americans.

Desai has also been entrusted with key responsibilities for the Tampa convention as well as the fund raising of the Romney campaign.

Romney has set up a separate cell for Indian-American voters as Indian-American coalition, recognising the importance of this ethnic community in electoral politics.

Similarly, there are host of Indian-Americans who have made it to the key positions in Barack Obama`s re-election bid.

Eminent Indian-American women from California, Shefali Razdan Duggal and Kamala Harris, have been nominated to the prestigious 2012 Convention Standing Committees.

While Duggal is one of the top fund raisers for Obama, Harris is the California Attorney General.

Duggal has raised between USD 500,000-USD 1 million for the Obama re-election campaign. She is also a member of the President Obama`s National Finance Committee (NFC) and also a Co-Chair for the Obama Victory Trustees.

"Obama has had such a productive and successful first term and I`m confident that he will continue this progress in his second term," Duggal told PTI. She will serve as a member of the Credentials Committee, which determines the seating of delegates and alternates at the national convention.

Shelly Kapoor, a successful entrepreneur from California, has also been appointed to serve on President`s Standing Platform Committee, which determines priorities for his re-election bid.

Pankit Doshi, an eminent Indian-American attorney based in Los Angeles, also has been selected as a delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention. He has also been named to the Platform Committee of the Obama Campaign.

The Obama Campaign has also appointed three Indian-Americans to help his re-election campaign reach out to some three million Indian-origin voters in the US.

The three, actor Kalpen Modi (also known as Kal Penn), California`s first female Attorney General, Kamala Harris and Sai Iyer, who served as a White House intern in 2011, figure among 35 state, local and community leaders named as national co-chairs, or "ambassadors" for the president, who will play a high-profile role in defending his record and mobilising voters for November.

Kal Penn, who starred in the Harold and Kumar movies and the TV show House, yesterday appeared at a rally to celebrate Obama`s 51st birthday?and stump for the youth vote. He currently holds the position of Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Gopal T K Krishna from Iowa, has been elected a delegate to the Republication National Convention, to be held in Tampa. He received the highest number of votes among 10 candidates who competed for three delegate positions during the 3rd Congressional District presidential caucus in Des Moines, Iowa.