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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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Man stabbed during brawl at Sikh temple near Seattle

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Man stabbed during brawl at Sikh temple near Seattle | Diya TV News

RENTON, Wa. (Diya TV) — At least six people were injured and one of them was briefly hospitalized with stab wounds during a brawl at the Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Renton, Washington. Renton Police say at least 20 people at the temple were fighting when police arrived. Police added a similar incident happened last week at a Sikh temple in Kent, Washington. Sources tell Diya TV the skirmish was between people that were pro-India and folks that did not view India in a favorable light. No arrests were made.

The Quad military alliance is complete after Australia agreed to be part of the Malabar Exercise to be held in Bay of Bengal next month, joining the United States, India and Japan as part of the naval exercise.

As seen on Diya TV, the South Asian Bar Association held a Presidential Town Hall featuring Asheesh Agarwal, a member of Indian Voices for Trump advisory board and Neera Tanden, the CEO of the Center for American Progress, moderated by journalist and professor Sree Sreenivasan.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Exclusive: Hindu Americans debate Biden vs. Trump

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Exclusive: Hindu Americans debate Biden vs. Trump | Diya TV News

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV)  — Diya TV played host to an incredible debate on issues affecting American Hindus as it relates to the 2020 Presidential Election. Three Biden and three Trump supporters discussed domestic influences and tendencies, foreign policy issues and party stances, Democrat vs. Republican in an event presented by the Hindu American Foundation, Hindu American Political Action Committee, HinduPACT and Hindu Vote.

Watch the full event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ULUchW4ubs

Also on Diya TV was the 2020 Fremont Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Coalition for Civic Engagement (CCE), a non-partisan organization. It includes a diverse group of organizations including Civic Leadership USA (CLUSA), Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), NAA United, Punjab Foundation, Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Hindu American PAC (HAPAC), Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC), Indo-American Community Federation (IACF) and Federation for Indian and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS).

From the economy and the homeless epidemic to COVID-19 and traffic congestion, this forum gave candidates a chance to express their views on how they plan to address some of the most critical issues facing Bay Area’s fourth largest city.

The event featured speakers vying for these positions:

Fremont City Council – District 1

Teresa Keng

Fremont City Council – District 5

Dolev Gandler

Raj Salwan

Fremont City Council – District 6

Yogi Chugh

Teresa Cox

Charles Liu 

Fremont Mayor:

Lily Mei

Naz Mahika Khan

Justin Sha

Vik Bajwa Singh

All City Council & Mayoral candidates were invited, but some were unavailable or did not respond to the invitation.

Sen. Kamala Harris was openly mocked at a Trump campaign rally by her colleague, Georgia Senator David Perdue, who made fun of her name before a partisan crowd in Macon, Georgia. “Ka-MAL-a, Ka-MAL-a or Kamala, Kamala, Ka-mala, -mala, -mala, I don’t know, whatever,” said Perdue. Perdue’s team afterward brushed it off, saying that he
“simply mispronounced” the name of Harris, with whom he has worked for four years. 

In response to Perdue, many people used the hashtag #MyNameIs to share stories about how they have handled similar situations.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Biden & Trump hold separate town halls on debate night

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Biden & Trump hold separate town halls on debate night | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — It was supposed to be debate night, a second battle between former Vice President Biden and President Trump. But after the President’s COViD-19 diagnosis, an in person battle wasn’t in the cards. The President did not want to do a virtual debate, so both men held separate town halls at the exact same time to try and win over voters with less than three weeks before the election and millions of people already casting their ballots early.

Many of the biggest Desi names in entertainment got together for a virtual ‘South Asian Block Party’ to support the Biden-Harris campaign. In just a couple hours, $250,000 was raised, with a number of the prominent figures sharing their personal stories on why they are supporting the Biden ticket.

Pakistan’s government has banned TikTok, citing complaints alleging the popular video app carried immoral and indecent content.

Simran Sethi, ABC TV’s Executive Vice President of Development and Content Strategy, is putting in place a new set of inclusion standards to ensure the television network accurately reflects society.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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