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Jindal enters US Congress

PTI | ByS Rajagopalan, Washington
Nov 04, 2004 02:26 AM IST

Republican Bobby Jindal is the second NRI to win a Congressional seat since Dalip Saund was elected in 1956, reports S Rajagopalan.

Republican Bobby Jindal has made history with a landslide win to the US Congress. The 33-year-old political whizkid is the first Indian American to enter the House of Representatives after a gap of nearly 50 years.

For long regarded as a shoo-in from Louisiana's first congressional district, Jindal effectively avenged his narrow defeat in last year's gubernatorial race. Jindal, who had been handpicked by President Bush for a key slot in his administration earlier on, romped home with an astounding 78 per cent of the vote.

Two other Indian Americans came out with flying colours in state elections. Democrat Swati Dandekar was re-elected as state representative from Iowa, while Republican Nikki Randhawa Haley was elected to the South Carolina assembly.

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Yet another woman of Indian stock, Republican Jay Rao, put up a spirited fight in the race for North Carolina's secretary of state before losing to Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall. Rao garnered 1,374,110 votes (43.12 per cent) as against Marshall's 1,812,271 votes (56.88 per cent).

This is the first time that Indian Americans from the Republican fold have achieved success. All the four serving Indian legislators have been Democrats --Kumar Barve of Maryland House of Delegates, Satveer Chaudhary of Minnesota Senate, Upendra Chivkula of New Jersey Assembly and Dandekar.

The icing on the cake was really Jindal's massive victory from his home state of Louisiana. The only other Indian American to have been elected to the House of Representatives was the late Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat from California, way back in 1956.

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