With four Indian-Americans, including two women, elected to the US Congress, community members said that the unprecedented victory shows they have become part of the mainstream political landscape.
Kamala Harris, who was elected to the Senate, and Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna to the House of Representatives, entered one of the citadels of democracy for the first time after their victories on Tuesday (November 8) night.
That number will to increase to five if Democratic Congressman Ami Bera is declared elected for a third consecutive term after a recounting of votes. In 2012, and in 2014, Bera’s race was too close to call on election night. On both occasions, Bera won the seat.
“It is a no mean achievement. This is a moment of celebration,” said MR Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Rangaswami, who has held fundraising events for almost all the candidates, hoped the “historic election” would encourage others from the community to run not only in Congressional elections, but also at state and city levels.
“It is important that Indian-Americans become part of the political mainstream,” he said.
“We are growing up and growing out,” said Sekhar Narasimhan, an activist in the Greater Washington area.
He has been encouraging young Indian-Americans to run for elected office.
Ajai Jain Bhutoria from California, who had also raised funds for these candidates, said: “This is matter of pride for Indian-American community.”
Indian-Americans – one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the US – this year pooled resources from across the country through fundraising events and by volunteering their time and effort.
The community in Tampa, Florida, one of the battleground states – held fundraising events for Krishnamoorthi, while those in the greater Washington area raised money for Krishnamoorthi and Jayapal.
After unhappy experiences in the past, in particular with Bobby Jindal, the community say they are now is seeking accountability and commitment from these candidates. When around two dozen Indian-Americans from the Silicon Valley held a fundraiser for Harris about six months ago, they sought her position on issues related to India and Indian-Americans.
“We are thrilled to see that a record-breaking number of Indian-Americans were elected for the first time in US political history,” said Prasad Thotakura, president of the Indian-American Friendship Council.