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71-year-old Syed Taj running for mayor in Michigan




DETROIT (Diya TV) — A 71-year-old Indian-American doctor is making another attempt of breaking into the world of public service, having already forged a coalition of various ethnic and religious groups to help Democrats take control of a Republican majority in the Michigan suburb.

Dr. Syed Taj is the brother of Indian politician Syed Shahabuddin, who serves in the state of Ranchi.

Taj four years ago ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now says that the township government of Canton — a suburb of Detroit that he lives in — needs to reflect diversity of its resident and it is time that Democrats take control of its future.

If elected in next month’s general election, Taj will become the first Indian-American mayor in Michigan’s history. He is running for the post of Canton Supervisor, which is the town’s version of the mayoral position. The town has a population of about 100,000, including more than 7,000 Indian-American residents.

“We are running on the platform of diversity, transparency and accountability,” Taj said.

Encouraging younger Indian-Americans to join the political mainstream, Taj said it took him about six months’ time working with the Democratic party to prepare a diversity coalition panel of seven top seats in the Canton township. Besides him, the panel includes one more Indian-American Dhaval Vaishnav who is the president of the Temple of Canton.

“If we (immigrants) stick together, we can make the difference,” he said, adding that it becomes more important at a time when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, has polarized the elections with his anti-immigration rhetoric.

“Donald Trump wants to make America Great Again which means make America White Again. This is no longer possible. The US is a country of immigrants. And he should realise that,” he said.

Taj, who comes from a highly-touted Muslim family in Bihar, was born and brought up in Gaya. After completing schooling from Bihar, he went to Ranchi at St Xavier. He earned his medical degrees from Patna Medical College in 1968.

In 1982, he and his wife Sofia moved to Southeast Michigan to pursue the American dream and be close to relatives as they began to start a family of their own but not before spending several years in the UK.

“It is important that we immigrants assimilate in the society and be a part of the political process,” he said.

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