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Presidential hopefuls woo NRIs

india Updated: Jan 03, 2008 13:05 IST

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Indian-Americans, the wealthiest and most educated minority group in the US, have been much sought after by both Democratic and Republican parties ahead of the closely contested presidential elections, says the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC).

Indian-Americans in Iowa commence the presidential nomination process in the US on Thursday.

USINPAC estimates that Indian-Americans could raise up to $20 million for the two major political parties during the presidential campaign although they form less than one percent of the population.

Iowans, too, are less than one per cent of the US population. But the impact of their nomination vote in the various party caucuses is far larger than the number who go out and vote, since they start the process that ends with a new incumbent in the White House.

Iowa's Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell appealed to Indian-Americans to go out and vote: "The Indian-American community has traditionally been very involved in community and politics, and I encourage for this to continue tonight when you go to your caucuses."

Democratic State Representative Swati Dandekar echoed the call: "The Indian-American community in Iowa has an opportunity to choose our next president. Therefore, whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we should all show up and participate in the caucuses like we always do.

"Our participation will show that we are part of the community. Our participation will also draw the attention of the political campaigns to our community."

In 2002, Dandekar became the first Indian-born American citizen to win a state legislative seat.