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Indian-Americans enhance political footprints in US

Washington, Nov 8 (IANS) As part of a growing trend of political empowerment for the three million-strong Indian American community, five Indian-American candidates scored victories in Tuesday’s US polls, with three of them becoming legislators in two states and two winning elections to local bodies.

The most significant gains for the Indian American community came in New Jersey where Kolkata-born Raj Mukherji scored a victory in the 33rd district to join fellow Democrat Upendra Chivukula, who retained his 17th district seat, in the state assembly.

While Mukherji, 29, a former Jersey City deputy mayor and current chairman of the Jersey City Housing Authority, is entering the state legislature for the first time, Nellore, India-born Chivukula, 63, has been a member of the New Jersey assembly since 2002.

In another notable victory by an Indian-American, Democrat Latha Mangipudi upset Pete Silva with an 18-point margin to become New Hampshire’s state representative from Ward 8.

In the local elections, Democrat Sapana Shah won a berth on the Edison Municipal Council in New Jersey, while Steve Rao retained his seat on the Morrisville, North Carolina City Council, remaining as the only Indian-American on the Council.

There were Indian-American losers too. They included Republican Sudhir Deshmukh seeking a New Jersey state assembly seat from the 5th District and Reshma Saujani running for New York City Public Advocate.

Three other Indian-Americans — Rao Bondalapati, Vinnie Goel, and Narendra Singh — lost their respective bids for seats on the Morrisville city council.

Independent Sudhanshu Prasad, running to be the Mayor of Edison, also lost his race. So did Krupal Shukla, a Republican running for one of three seats on the Edison Municipal Council.

In Seattle, Washington, Kshama Sawant lost her race for a seat on the City Council to four-term incumbent Richard Conlin.

US citizens of Indian descent, who were so long known for their educational, technological, scientific, entrepreneurial and medical achievements, are now a growing force in the US with several of them occupying key positions in the Obama administration.

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