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NRIs rally behind Hillary Clinton

Obama's campaign ridiculing her links with Indian Americans has helped to rally more support, boosting her fund raising.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2007 12:24 IST

US Presidential hopeful Barak Obama's campaign ridiculing rival Hillary Clinton's links with Indian-Americans has apparently helped to rally more support for the latter in the community, boosting her fund raising.

On Sunday, Indian-Americans from across the US and business leaders from India will be flying here to attend a major fund-raising dinner which aims to collect around US $500,000 to US $1 million for Senator Clinton.

Over a thousand guests will pay between US $1,000 and US $9,200 per plate at the sit-in dinner being organised by the 'Indian Americans for Hillary 2008'. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and leading NRI businessman SP Hinduja are among those expected to attend the event.
The Obama controversy has given a significant boost to the attendance at the dinner with most of the seats already being sold out, organisers said.

Expressing satisfaction at the overwhelming response by the Indian-Americans, leading hotelier Sant Chatwal said the target set by the community to contribute at least US $5 million to Clinton's campaign would be met.

"Already, around US $3 million have been raised and it should be possible to reach the target by the end of this year," Chatwal said.
Asked about Obama campaign's remarks on Hillary's ties with India and against him personally, Chatwal said, "We are doing (what) we need to do and such comments do not distract us from our aim of raising US $5 million for the Clinton campaign. The Sunday's fund-raiser would show our success to everyone."

The Clintons, said Chatwal, had close links with India as was demonstrated during the presidency of Bill Clinton who became first US president to visit India in several years.

"The Indian-American community is among the richest in the United States and has done professionally well but more than that, Americans have realised the huge benefits in having closer relations with India," the hotelier stressed.

The monetary contributions in the dinner would only be made by Indians who are either American citizens or hold green cards. Those coming from outside the country will attend the event to show their support for Hillary Clinton.

The minimum per plate cost is US $1,000. The next slots are priced at US $ 2,300, US $4,600, US $5,000 and US $9,200.

The controversial memo, which was passed on friendly political correspondents by Obama campaign officials to quote from it without attribution to the campaign, had implied that Clintons haves raised tens of thousands of dollars from American Indians and that is why they are supporting outsourcing without caring for lost American jobs.

The paper also picked up a remark of Hillary Clinton to imply that her investments in India made her fit to fight elections in India. It was referring to the remark made by Hillary Clinton to an Indian-American audience in March that "I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily."

Obama, who has started a damage-control exercise after drawing flak from the Indian-American community, has admitted that the memo was a mistake but claimed that he was unaware of its contents prior to its distribution.

The over two-million strong Indian-American community is among the richest ethnic groups in the US.

First Published: Jun 21, 2007 12:04 IST