Bobby Jindal sworn in as Congressman
Bobby Jindal walked into the House of Representatives on Tuesday — only the second Indian American in the history of US Congress to have done so, the first being Dalip Singh Saund way back in 1956.
This achievement did not go unnoticed as Speaker Dennis Hastert made a pointed reference to it in his address at the formal swearing-in of the newly elected members.
Even before the start of the 109th session, Jindal had notched up a couple of successes, having been named leader of the group of 40 freshmen members and chosen an assistant whip.
"It's a great honour to be up here as an elected official," said the 33-year-old Rhodes scholar, who won from Louisiana's first district by capturing 78 per cent of the votes in the November elections.
On the eve of the swearing-in, the Indian American community hosted a grand reception for him at the downtown Ritz Carlton Hotel that was attended by several leading lights of the India Caucus including Gary Ackerman and Frank Pallone.
Jindal is widely expected to play an active role in the India Caucus, which now has a membership of over 180 lawmakers.
The opening day's proceedings were marked by the adoption of a unanimous resolution, expressing America's solidarity with the tsunami-hit nations. Several lawmakers are heading out for the region in the coming days. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, leading a small group, left on Tuesday for Sri Lanka and India.
Republican Congressman Joe Wilson lauded India for having "responded selflessly to this tragedy," despite its own huge losses.