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'Desi' wave hit US general elections: Record 5 Indian-Americans elected to Congress

an unprecedented desi wave hit the general elections as a record number of five Indian-Americans also got elected to the US Congress today.

India TV News Desk, Washington [ Published on: November 09, 2016 21:48 IST ]
Kamala Harris, Pramila Jayapal have been elected to US Congress

While Republican nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday surprised many with his election as the President of the United States, an unprecedented 'desi' wave hit the general elections as a record number of five Indian-Americans also got elected to the US Congress today.

Let’s take a look at the people with Indian heritage who have been elected to the US Congress:

Kamala Harris

Indian-American women put up a good show in the 2016 elections, with Kamala Harris, 51, a two-term attorney general from California, creating history by winning the US Senate seat from the state.

Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, is the daughter of an Indian mother who emigrated from Chennai in 1960 and a Jamaican American father.

California Democrats had overwhelmingly endorsed Harris for US Senate, solidifying her front-runner status in the race to become California's next Senator. 

Endorsing Harris, Obama had said "Kamala Harris fights for us. Thats why I am so proud to endorse her for United States Senator. And if you send her to the Senate, she'll be a fearless fighter for the people of California, all the people of California, every single day."

Pramila Jayapal 

Jayapal, 51, won the Congressional seat from Seattle to enter the House of Representatives, the first Indian-American woman to accomplish this feat.

Senator Bernie Sanders and former US President Jimmy Carter had endorsed Jayapal.

Jayapal entered the US Congress on her maiden try. Senator Bernie Sanders and former US President Jimmy Carter had endorsed Jayapal.

Born in Chennai, she left India at the age of five for Indonesia, Singapore and eventually for the US.

Jayapal says her life transformed for the better after she spent some time in India when she returned to the country after a gap of 25 years in April 1995.

Her book-- "Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland" was published in 2000.

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Raja Krishnamoorthi today made it to the House of Representatives in their second attempt. Krishnamoorthi, 42, was contesting for the 8th Congressional District of Illinois that includes west and northwest Chicago suburbs.

A son of immigrants, Krishnamoorthi grew up in Illinois and after college and law school, he became policy advisor for Obama’s successful US Senate campaign.He also served as a founding prosecutor in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's anti-corruption unit.

He was endorsed by the outgoing US President Barack Obama.

In an endorsement in June, Obama had said as the son of immigrants who worked their way into the middle-class, Krishnamoorthi understands both the challenges facing America's working families and the opportunities their work makes possible.

Ro Khanna

Khanna, the Democratic Party candidate from California’s 17th District, defeated his closest rival Mike Honda, also of the Democratic Party, whom he had lost against in 2014 Congressional polls.

In the primaries, early this summer, Khanna had received more votes than eight-term incumbent Honda. California electoral system allows the top two winners of the primaries to proceed to the general polls, even if they are from the same party.

A Yale law graduate and a former official of the Obama administration, Khanna, 40, was pitted against his own party's Honda to represent the 17th Congressional district of California, whose residents stretch from "Tesla Motors factory in Fremont to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino--taking in Intel, Yahoo, and eBay along the way.

Among others, Khanna has been endorsed by former president Jimmy Carter, California Lt Governor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Khanna's commitment to public service was inspired by his grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar, who told him stories about his participation in Mahatma Gandhi's Indian independence movement and spending years in jail to promote human rights.

 
Ami Bera 

Bera, 51, is the only Indian-American in the current Congress and is third ever elected to the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in 1950 and Bobby Jindal in 2000s.

With his election for the third successive term, Bera has become the longest serving Indian American Congressman ever. 

Bera was endorsed by the outgoing US President Barack Obama. 

Bera was first elected from his constituency, includes a part of California’s state capital San Diego, in 2012 and re-elected in 2014. President Barack Obama endorsed him. He also received the support of several trade unions. 

He is a doctor and a convert from Hinduism to the Unitarian faith. 

Two Indian-Americans in fray from New Jersey and Michigan however lost their bid to enter the US Congress. Democratic Party candidate in New Jersey's 7th congressional district Peter Jacob lost the race to Republican party‘s Leonard Lance, who got 55 per cent of the votes. 

Jacob came in a close second garnering 42 per cent of the votes. 

In Michigan's 11th District, Democratic Party candidate Anil Kumar lost the race, getting 40 per cent of the votes against Republican candidate Dave Trott who was leading with 53 per cent votes.

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