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Bobby Jindal enters US Cong, makes history

Winning from 1st District of Louisiana, he became first NRI to win a Congressional seat in 46 yrs.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON NOV 03, 2004 01:52 PM IST

Indian American Bobby Jindal, 33, has made history with a landslide win to the House of Representatives.

He won from Louisiana's majority-conservative 1st District. Leading with 78 per cent of the vote, Jindal left his opponents biting the dust in the Cajun state to come into the US House nearly 50 years after Indian American Dalip Singh Saund made it from California.

Now Indian Americans look to see what critical committee assignments the rookie legislator will get.

But it is almost assured he will have a say in health matters because of his background as policy advisor to the Bush administration and as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services until recently.

The "wonder boy" of Punjabi heritage, who was born and brought up in Louisiana and follows the Christian faith, presents the amalgam that goes to make this country and the opportunity every Indian American, and perhaps every immigrant, aspires to.

"Whether you are Democrat or Republican, Bobby Jindal's election to Congress is a win for our community," said Dino Teppara, who is on Congressman Joe Wilson's staff on the Hill.

Jindal ran a relentless campaign despite favourable rating early on, learning from the experience of his failed bid for governor of Louisiana not to take anything for granted.

A Rhodes scholar and president of the University of Louisiana System and Secretary of the Louisiana Health System when he was in his 20s, Jindal brings far more than his 33 years show to the House.

By the end of his campaign, Jindal had raised a hefty $2 million for his campaign and was so confident of his victory that he was donating money to Republicans in tight races around the country, thus raising his cache for the time would come to Washington.

The suburban, largely White Collar 1st District, had in 2000 voted overwhelmingly for President George W Bush, giving him 66 per cent of the vote to Democrat Al Gore's 31 per cent.

In his gubernatorial run last year, Jindal secured 67.5 per cent of the vote in his district, but lost the race to Democrat Katherine Blanco by a couple of percentage points overall.

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