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Indian American candidate accused of playing race card

An Indian American Congressional candidate for the November elections to the US House of Representatives has been accused by his rival of playing the race card as he is raising money from the community.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2010 12:41 IST

An Indian American Congressional candidate for the November elections to the US House of Representatives has been accused by his rival of playing the race card as he is raising money from the community.

"The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money," Mark Campbell, spokesman of sitting Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach, told Congressional newspaper The Hill in an interview.

As per latest news reports, Geralch is facing a tough challenge from Democrat Manan Tridevi in his Pennsylvania 6th District. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine is headed to Philadelphia to raise money for him.

Cutting across party lines, the community -– who have one of the highest per capita income across all the ethnic groups in the US -– are contributing significantly for all the six Indian American candidates who are running for a record number of Congressional seats this year.

"Dr Manan Trivedi is running a campaign focused on the Pennsylvania families and businesses struggling in this economy. Gerlach, on the other hand, is making these ethnic charges to distract voters from his record of supporting the economic policies that created this recession," Kathy Kulkarni, president of the Indian American Leadership Initiative (IALI), said in a statement.

Noting that Trivedi is now one of the Democratic Party's top Congressional candidates, IALI said: "Let's make Jim Gerlach regret the day his campaign attacked the Indian American community."

It also urged the community to make a generous contribution to Trivedi's campaign.

Terming it as an incredible accusation to make in an American political campaign where it is quite common for candidates from both parties to seek support from ethnic organisations, IALI said: "You would never see Gerlach attack an Italian American, Jewish American or Greek American
candidate for raising money from their ethnic communities."

It is ludicrous for Gerlach to say an Indian American candidate should live by different rules, Kulkarni said.

"His campaign statement shows disdain for the Indian American community and the Congressman should apologise immediately," Kulkarni demanded.

In an election which has seen the largest number of Indian Americans running for office, this is not the first time that a candidate has experienced an attack by his/her political opponent in racial or ethnic lines.