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NRI candidate in US faces race slur

A close contest for a seat to the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania has gotten mired in controversy after a Democrat Indian-American candidate, was attacked by the campaign of his Republican rival for raising funds from the Indian-American community.

world Updated: Sep 04, 2010 23:57 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

A close contest for a seat to the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania has gotten mired in controversy after a Democrat Indian-American candidate, was attacked by the campaign of his Republican rival for raising funds from the Indian-American community. That has led to the Republican being lambasted by a host of Democratic Party leaders over what they described as a racially biased smear.

The controversy erupted after the Democratic candidate Manan Trivedi replied to Republican Jim Gerlach’s campaign’s charge that he “doesn’t share our values”. Trivedi fired back saying that was a way of playing the race card. Soon after, in an interview to The Hill, Gerlach campaign spokesman Mark Campbell said, “The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money.” Racist times

That statement drew criticism from a host of Democrats, including Trivedi. Responding to it, Trivedi said, “These are hardworking American who pay their taxes and contribute to society. Congressman Gerlach’s campaign is saying that somehow they aren’t good enough to participate in our democracy. Like many Americans I am so proud of my heritage and grateful for all of the support I’ve received and believe absolutely no one should ever feel shut out of the democratic process.”

Trivedi also received support from senior Democratic Party leaders who called upon Gerlach to apologise to Trivedi and fire Campbell.