SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — With this month’s general election only days away, Indian-American Democrats are making one final push to have their community’s voice heard, specifically by turning out the vote for nominee Hillary Clinton.
The reason? She’s proven on more than one occasion to be a steadfast and reliable ally of Indians both in the states, and abroad, they said.
Leaders of the group titled “Indian-Americans for Democrats and Friends of Hillary for President,” found they received the most ardent support in those states positioned to play the most key roles in next week’s presidential election. And despite the small stature of the Indian-American vote in those communities, the group says their vote is still poised to play an just as important role.
During a news conference Wednesday, New York hotelier Sant Chatwal pointed to the result of the general election of 2000, where Democrat Al Gore lost by less than 400 votes in Florida and said that in states like that votes of Indian Americans carry more weight as a deciding factor.
Furthering his support, Chatwal cited the multitude of trips Clinton has taken to India as proof she’s fit to serve as an ambassador to the community. Because of these trips, she has a better understanding of the country and its cultures, he said. Chatwal also spoke on the personal history he has with the Clintons, so close, in fact, that former president Bill Clinton once offered him carte blanche to select a role in his administration. Chatwal politely declined the offer, instead asking the president if he’d consider taking an official trip to India.
It was this trip, Chatwal said, that laid the foundation of the relationship the two nations have today.
His relationship with the Clintons also has a dark history — Chatwal was convicted in 2014 of election finance violations involving $180,000 he gave to three politicians, including Hillary Clinton, and witness tampering.
Bhupi Patel, a community leader, spoke of the steady influence Indians have built in the U.S. electorate, and their impact on India-US relations. He recalled Indian American Center for Political Awareness founded by the late newspaper pioneer Gopal Raju and how it encouraged Indians to get involved in politics and helped India and the U.S. develop closer ties.
Clinton’s agenda for improving healthcare, immigration reform and improving the quality of and access to education were the things that attract the Indian-American community to her the most, Patel said.
Trump, who had pledged at a rally last month that Hindus and India would have a friend in the White House if he won, came in for criticism at the news conference.
Chatwal dismissed his sentiments saying, “Talk is cheap.”