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San Jose Councilman joins race against Khanna, Honda

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Portrait of San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is one of five major contenders for mayor in the June primary at apartment building at 34 Willow Street, where he spent the first five years of his life in San Jose, Calif. on Monday, March 31, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

Portrait of San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is one of five major contenders for mayor in the June primary at apartment building at 34 Willow Street, where he spent the first five years of his life in San Jose, Calif. on Monday, March 31, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (DIYA TV) — The race for the Bay Area’s 17th Congressional District just heated up — already pitted against each other are incumbent Mike Honda and Indian American businessman Ro Khanna, now, Pierluigi Oliverio, a San Jose City Councilman has thrown his hat in the ring as well.

Olivero, 46, said he drew inspiration to declare his candicacy as an independent after watching the “mudslinging” in the race between Honda and Khanna. He votes his conscience and follows his heart, and has no obligations to any special interest or need to play dirty trick politics, he said. “Rather than having a mudslinging race, maybe there can actually be a discussion of issues that are facing the country,” Olivero told the San Jose Mercury News in an interview this week. “I think the current campaign is like Donald Trump and Marco Rubio yelling at each other. But with me in the race, we can have a civil discussion like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.”

Olivero will have his work cut out for him — like Honda, he does not live in the district for which he is seeking election, and several political analysts have already labeled his chances as a sever longshot. Some experts claim his candidacy will hardly change the dynamics of the election, which also features two republican candidates, Ron Cohen and Peter Kuo. For Kuo, it’s a shot of redemption after his 2014 District 10 state senate defeat at the hands of Bob Wieckowski.

“Oliverio is not well-known outside his council district and much of the congressional district is actually beyond San Jose,” said Terry Christensen, a political-science professor emeritus at San Jose State. “I can’t imagine him being able to raise enough money — hundreds of thousands of dollars — to compete with Honda and Khanna.”

Christensen added the race might be a tactic Olivero is using to keep his name in the headlines, something several politicians do to stay relevant and spice up their future candidacies. After being eliminated in last year’s San Jose mayoral primary, Olivero could possibly have his sights set on the county supervisor seat which is currently held by Ken Yeager.

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Khanna’s contingency admitted to knowing little of Olivero’s history, but is well aware of his familiarity with Honda.

“Like Congressman Honda, he doesn’t live in the district and like Congressman Honda he doesn’t represent the district,” Khanna spokesman Hari Sevugan said. “But what’s clear from his candidacy, and that of so many others, is that there’s a deep desire for change among voters.”

For Honda, Olivero’s announcement was used as a chance to take another jab at his main rival.

“We are glad that a second Democrat has finally joined us in this election,” said campaign manager Michael Beckendorf. “Unlike Ro, Councilmember Oliverio has spent many years in the community interacting with residents and serving his constituents in local government. We welcome him to the race and look forward to a spirited campaign.”

Since joining the City Council in 2007, Olivero, who works a day-job in the tech industry, has spearheaded two successful ballot measures to tax the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries and pension changes for new hires to cut costs to the city. Both measures were met with overwhelming support by the voters. Additionally, Olivero introduced a competitive bidding process for San Jose’s park maintenance services, which resulted in tripling the city’s savings. Widely considered one of the most unorthodox of Bay Area politicians, Olivero employs hardly any staff in his council administration, and carries with him at all times an iPad which allows for live and direct communication with each of his constituents.

However, since 2010, he has been engaged in a battle with the Democrats’ labor wing. During that same year, he was accused of removing campaign signs as a political advantage, Olivero combatted the accusations by saying the signs had been placed illegally on traffic medians throughout the city. Last year, he was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former staffer in his administration, who later dropped his name from the suit.

Information from the San Jose Mercury News and Ramona Giwargis contributed to this report.

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Exclusive: Sanders, Bloomberg camps on Indian American outreach

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Sanders

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — We have more from Las Vegas in the aftermath of the latest Democratic debate. We spoke with both the Sanders and the Bloomberg campaigns about what they plan to do to reach the Indian American community and have more analysis on whether any of the candidates moved the needle to win new support.

A number of prominent Indian Americans in government will accompany President Trump and the first lady to India next week. The delegation will visit Delhi, Agra, and Ahmedabad and likely include Rita Barnwal of the U.S. Department of Energy, Bimal Patel of the U.S. Treasury Department, Manisha Singh of the State Department, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Seema Verma of Health and Human Services and Kash Patel in the National Security Council.

There is tragic news to report out of India, where we’ve learned Ayurvedic Master Healer Dr. Pankaj Naram has died. Dr. Naram has been a mainstay on Diya TV in the daytime for many years, sharing his wisdom on how to use everyday ingredients to heal challenging ailments. Dr. Naram literally touched the lives of millions of people and we will effort to pay homage to this man whose impact will live on forever.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India becomes 5th largest economy, overtakes UK, France

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Economy

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — India is now the world’s fifth largest economy, overtaking the UK and France in 2019, according to a report by American non-partisan think tank World Population Review. The report says India’s economic liberalization starting in the early 1990s was key to this growth. Though the report also indicates India’s real GDP growth is expected to weaken for the third straight year from 7.5 percent to 5 percent.

Billionaire entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on stage at the ninth Democratic Debate in Las Vegas, qualifying for the first time after polls indicate his star is rising amongst potential Democratic primary voters after spending more than $300 million in political advertising. Diya TV will be in Las Vegas with full coverage from what will certainly be an eventful night.

Lakshmi Sridaran, who has been the interim executive director for non-profit civil rights group, SAALT, South Asian Americans Leading Together, will take on that role moving forward. SAALT also announced Simran Noor will serve as their new Board Chair.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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150,000 people expected for ‘Namaste Trump’ in Gujarat

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Namaste Trump

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — President Trump & the first lady will get a massive welcome on his visit to Gujarat next week, where 150,000 people are expected to attend ‘Namaste Trump.’ It’s expected to be an even grander event than ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston, where 50,000 people greeted Prime Minister Modi. A delegation of business leaders from the U.S. are also headed to India for a series of events in New Delhi.

The 17th annual India Conference at Harvard brought more than 1000 people to the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard’s Business School including a long list of luminaries in business, politics and entertainment. And only on Diya TV, we have exclusive conversations with Indian unicorn CEOs Ankiti Bose of Zilingo and Ritesh Agarwal of OYO.

Roseville Police in California say a taxi driver, Rajbir Singh, saved an elderly passenger in his cab from giving a scammer $25,000. The 92 year old told Singh she was about to withdraw the money to settle a debt with the IRS. It sounded like a scam to Singh, who asked the woman to reconsider, even detouring to a police station to help convince her not to withdraw her money. Eventually, she decided not to proceed. Roseville Police say Singh should be honored with a “great citizen award.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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