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From marginalized to margin of victory: The Indian American voter in Georgia

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Georgia State Senate Runoff

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Georgia Senate runoff has become the nation’s most important race as the balance of power in the U.S. Senate is in the hands of the Georgia voters. And while political pundits continue to speculate on national TV, one aspect that hasn’t received much attention is the impact of the Asian American voter.

“You can’t tell the suburban vote story without telling the Asian American vote story,”

IMPACT Executive Director Neil Makhija

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in Georgia (and nationally), and Indian Americans are the largest Asian American group in Georgia. There are an estimated 238,000 eligible AAPI voters in Georgia, a voting block that is coming into its own according to Neil Makhija, the Executive Director for IMPACT, an Indian American advocacy and political action committee.

“The Democratic Party couldn’t win the Presidency or the Senate without Asian Americans,” said Makhija. “In November, South Asian and Asian American voters were the critical difference between victory and defeat in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The numbers are striking: Asian Americans increased turnout more than any other demographic, nearly doubling in Georgia. Asian Americans are becoming a core constituency of the Democratic Party, but they can’t be taken for granted.”

A recent poll conducted by IMPACT, shows the general eligible voting population in Georgia grew 9% between 2012 and 2018, however the Indian American voting population grew by 231%.

This year, Georgia saw a 91 percent increase in AAPI voter turnout over 2016, according to an analysis done by the Democratic firm Target­Smart, and exit polls showed Asian American voters preferred Vice President Joe Biden to President Trump by a 2 to 1 margin. 

An additional 42,000 AAPI voters voted in 2020 over 2016 and more than 30,000 AAPI voters voted for the first time ever. Biden won Georgia by just over 14,000 votes. Gwinnett County, located outside of Atlanta, was once a conservative stronghold. It’s now home to the state’s largest AAPI population and more than 30,000 AAPI voters cast their ballots early there this year compared with 9,500 in 2016.

Jennifer Baik, Communications & Policy Associate at APIA Vote says, “The AAPI vote will definitely be a deciding factor in the Georgia runoff races. According to new data from Pew Research Center, roughly 76,000 new voters have registered between October 5th and December 7th, and by the October 5th deadline in 2020, there were a total of 1,88,000 newly registered voters this year.”

IMPACT has launched a historic $2.5 million campaign to turnout AAPI voters in Georgia ahead of the January Senate runoffs.

“We are poised to play a critical role in January for the Georgia Senate runoff races,” Makhija continued. “IMPACT’s historic investment over the remaining weeks of the campaign will harness this emerging power of South Asian and Asian American voters to help deliver Georgia and control of the U.S. Senate for Democrats. This election can play a transformative role for the Biden-Harris Administration and for our country, and Asian Americans realize that — which is why they’re already turning in their ballots in record numbers.”

IMPACT’s new Georgia campaign follows its $10 million campaign in November focused on targeting Asian American voters in Pennsylvania and Arizona, the largest-ever effort to target South Asian voters. 

APIA Vote, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) have been working closely on the ground to activate AAPI voters and get out the vote.  Their efforts to reach Asian American voters include mailers in English, Korean, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese

Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, Director at the Asian American Advocacy Fund, and a Gwinnett County native says their group is doing all it can to mobilize the AAPI voters, by knocking on doors, connecting on local issues and doing in-language outreach.

The outreach is coming from both sides. In 2016, Trump became the first Presidential candidate in U.S. history to do TV ad campaigns targeting Indian Americans & Hindu Americans. In this election cycle, we’ve seen the both Republicans & the Democrats make outreach to the Indian American community via digital & TV ad campaigns, in addition to grassroots efforts.

Leoffler’s campaign has launched TV ad campaigns, targeting Indian Americans & the GOP has recruited fromer U.S Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who is a key surrogate courting voters to vote for Senators Leoffler & Purdue.

APIA Vote says there was 310% increase in 2020 early voting compared to 2016. Baik adds, “if anything, the November elections have solidified AAPI voters as the margin of victory.”

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India launches ambitious vaccine inoculation drive

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India Launches Ambitious Vaccine Inoculation Drive | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India is out to prove it’s a COVID-19 vaccination superpower, as they look to not only protect 1.3 billion of its own people, but people from more than 150 countries around the world. Indian Prime Minister Modi said there is reason for his citizens to be confident in the world’s most ambitious inoculation drive with a strong delivery network, a mobile app and an enormous vaccine supply.

The state of California is suing tech giant Cisco Systems alleging discrimination against an Indian American man in the workplace. The engineer claims he was treated unfairly by two former colleagues because of his caste. But the Hindu American Foundation says the state’s argument that caste is a strict part of the Hindu religion is false and is a harmful portrayal of the faith. They argue it is not the government’s role to define any religions beliefs.

Air India is expanding its reach in the U.S. as it prepares to launch even more non-stop flights in the New Year. The airline will start non-stop services between Bengaluru and San Francisco, as well as between Hyderabad and Chicago.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indo-pacific framework documents declassified

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Indo-pacific Framework Documents Declassified | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In its final days, the Trump administration is declassifying some highly sensitive documents, including the “U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific” (SFIP), written by the National Security Council. India is shown as a rising power in the document, vital to the security of the Indo-Pacific region and important to U.S. interests.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is starting a new political action committee called Stand for America PAC.  But so far, there’s no mention of President Trump on her donation site or web page. Haley’s spokesperson says don’t read too much into that. But Haley is widely considered a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and could face Trump if he chooses to run again.

President-Elect Joe Biden has yet to take office, but he’s already getting down to business, unveiling a massive $1.9 trillion dollar economic relief package. If passed by Congress, it would include $1 trillion for households, with direct payments of $1400 to all Americans, and the rest going to small businesses and the fight against COVID-19.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India reveals 8-point plan to fight terrorism

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India Reveals 8 Point Plan To Fight Terrorism | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar says terrorism remains the greatest threat to global peace and India’s best interests. So he’s unveiling an eight point action plan that includes using more U.N. sanctions and mobilizing what he calls the political will to fight this menace. The minister’s defensive posture is in response to the increase in security concerns related to China and Pakistan.

Two more Indian Americans are now part of a growing list of South Asians being added to President elect Joe Biden’s administration. Neha Gupta and Reema Shah are now part of the White House Counsel’s Office. Gupta will serve as associate counsel, while Shah will be deputy associate counsel. Both attorney’s already have experience and impressive resumes serving in other Democratic administrations.  

Federal authorities say an Indian American man targeted the elderly in a massive telemarketing scam. Hirenkumar Chaudhuri admitted that he used a phony Indian passport, false name, and fake address to open several bank accounts to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme. This is the latest in a crackdown on scams using call centers in India, defrauding senior citizens and others. People of Indian descent as well as others are involved in the scams that continue to operate and are ruining India’s reputation and have the potential of affecting the nation’s multi-billion-dollar back office industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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