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Five Indian American Members of Congress feted at Indiaspora Gala

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Congressmembers Pramila Jayapal, Tulsi Gabbard, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera at the Indiaspora Gala 2017 in Washington DC.

Congressmembers Pramila Jayapal, Tulsi Gabbard, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera at the Indiaspora Gala 2017 in Washington DC.

(L-R) Congressmembers Pramila Jayapal, Tulsi Gabbard, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera at the Indiaspora Gala 2017 in Washington DC.

WASHINGTON, DC (Diya TV) — Were it not for Donald Trump’s stunning win in November, the political story of Election 2016 could arguably be the ascent of the Indian-American community, who surprisingly now have five members in the United States Congress.

Kamala Harris of California, long rumored as a potential Presidential candidate, is now the first-ever Indian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Chicago-area businessman endorsed by President Barack Obama, won a House seat in his second try.

Seattle’s Pramila Jayapal, a disciple of Bernie Sanders, became the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House after capturing Washington’s 7th district.

Silicon Valley’s Ro Khanna, in his second attempt in California’s 17th district (and third overall), upset eight term Congressman Mike Honda.

Despite a campaign fundraising scandal involving his father, Dr. Ami Bera secured his third term in California’s 7th district south of Sacramento.

In addition, Tulsi Gabbard, the nation’s first Hindu in Congress, overwhelmingly won her third term representing Hawaii’s 2nd district.

All of them are Democrats and all were honored at the Indiaspora Gala, an Indian-American centered inaugural ball.

“Our legacy is nothing that we’re going to do. Our legacy is built on what the next-generation does,” said Rep. Bera before the crowd of 500 that came to the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC.

It was the second time M.R. Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, organized a gala of this nature. Four years ago, it was pegged around President Obama’s reelection. But given the historic nature of this election to the Indian-American community, the date was moved up to coincide with Congress’ swearing-in date.

“We’re 1% of the population and we’re finally 1% of Congress itself,” said Rangaswami.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal added “that we, Indian Americans, have a presence and have power in this country that matches now politically everything else that we do.”

The bipartisan gala brought scores of members of Congress to attend, including many heavily involved in the US-India relationship like Republican Senator from Alaska, Dan Sullivan.

“It’s an incredible community in terms of the rising political influence, but also in terms of what the Indian-American community is doing throughout the country,” said Sullivan.

Houston Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee believes this new crop of colleagues will “make a real mark on the United States Congress primarily because they bring to this nation a recognition that we are a nation of many. And out of many, comes one. And comes unity.”

Former Democratic Vice Presidential hopeful and current Virginia Senator Tim Kaine once oversaw the US-India relationship as the chair of the subcommittee in foreign relations. He appointed a number of Indian-Americans to cabinet posts when he served as governor of Virginia and believes strongly despite the upcoming change in administrations, “the ties are so natural” that the bond between the US and India will continue to grow.

It’s a viewpoint shared by Democratic member of Congress Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who told Diya TV, “when people come from India to the United States, with their entrepreneurship, with their family values, with their commitment to community, they make America, more American.”

“No matter which way the political winds blow,” said Rep. Gabbard, “the commitment is there on behalf of the leaders of this country to strengthen the US-India friendship.”

Other dignitaries in attendance included United States Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Kumar, potential U.S. Ambassador to India in the Trump administration, Ashley J. Tellis, DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sri Srinivasan, New York Democratic Congressmembers Joe Crowley and Carolyn Maloney, Indiana Republican Congressman Todd Rokita, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Desai Biswal, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna, Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress and Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014.

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Trump becomes first U.S. President to be impeached twice

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Trump Becomes First U.S. President To Be Impeached Twice | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” He is the first President to be impeached twice, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to vote for the removal of the President, whose term ends January 20th. But the Senate will not convene until January 19th to hold a trial for the president.

A full week after the Capitol was stormed by his supporters, President Trump released a video saying he condemned the mob violence that left 5 people dead and threatened the lives of members of Congress. Trump took on a solemn tone and did not address being impeached, nor acknowledge his successor President-Elect Joe Biden.

After months of massive nationwide protests by India’s farmers, the Indian Supreme Court has put three contentious farm laws on hold until further notice. The court said the decision to suspend the laws “may assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers and encourage them to come to the negotiating table with confidence and good faith.” The farmers argue the new laws passed in September would privatize land and undermine their livelihoods by giving more power to corporations.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Impeachment moves ahead despite limited GOP support

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Impeachment Moves Ahead Despite Limited Gop Support | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Democrats in the House are moving ahead with the second impeachment of President Trump over accusations Trump incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol. Despite tepid Republican support, the vote will be held Wednesday. Vice President Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump before his final day in office January 20th.

Indian Prime Minister Modi praised the Indian diaspora around the world for all their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Modi says Indians have gone above and beyond with their giving and generosity, especially medical workers on the front lines. He also thanked temples, gurdwaras and other social service agencies for being there for everyone without discrimination.

India authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for use, putting it’s massive manufacturing capacity in the spotlight.  The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume. It will likely provide almost all the vaccines in India and ship to many other places around the world later this year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Rioters face criminal charges, Capitol Police chief resigns

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Rioters Face Criminal Charges, Capitol Police Chief Resigns | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Federal investigators are looking to bring criminal charges on everyone involved in the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol and they are also looking at the role President Trump had in inviting his supporters to interrupt the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s win. 15 criminal cases have already been filed, including one against one man who brought a military semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails. Capitol Police are also under fire for how the building was breached in the first place, leading to the resignation of their police chief. The House & Senate Sergeant at Arms are also being replaced.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are leading the calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked against President Trump. The 25th Amendment states in part the vice president and a majority of the cabinet can decide that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office.

Several White House officials resigned in the aftermath of violence at the Capitol. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced their resignations, the first to leave President Trump’s Cabinet since the attack. Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, top European and Russian official on the National Security Council Ryan Tully and First Lady Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham have also quit.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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