New York: Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu ever elected to US congress, is running for the White House in 2020, and could end up vying with Kamala Harris, who is likely to run also, for the affection, support and, most importantly, the financial backing of the country’s richest ethnic community, Indian Americans.
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” Gabbard told a CNN TV news anchor for a show that airs Saturday.
Gabbard, 37, is a US army veteran and a three-term member of the US House of Representative from Hawaii, where the 44th president of the United Sates Barack Obama was born and raised and where he would vacation with his family every major holidays.
Obama, now the elder statesman of the Democratic party has not endorsed Gabbard or Harris or any one of the 15 or more Democrats considering a presidential run, to go up against President Donald Trump in 2020.
Indian Americans have been keenly following both Gabbard and Harris in anticipation of their run for the White House with mixed feelings: Gabbard is a white American but as a practicing Hindu is an icon among Hindu Americans.
And Harris is an Indian American from her mother’s side and African American from her father’s.
There has been some disquiet among Indian Americans about Harris as she has sought to project herself as an African American.
“Not sure if the country is ready for another African American,” said an Indian American Republican donor and strategist, who said he would like Harris to devote more time burnishing her credentials as an Indian American.
Gabbard will become the first Hindu to run for the White House when she announces formally next week. Though not Indian American, Gabbard is often considered one by the community because of her professed religion — a Hindu — and there stories that Hindu temples in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia region chimed their bells to coordinate with her swearing in in 2012.
Gabbard is not Indian American, once again, but is often thought of one, being a Hindu. And if she does decide to run, as she has indicated she will next week, she will make history as the first Hindu, from a tiny religious minority.
Bobby Jindal, the former Republican governor of Louisiana state, became the first Indian American to run for the country’s top job in the 2016 cycle, but lost spectacularly. He had converted to christianity while still in college and, to the disappointment of the Indian American community, he had sought to distance himself from the community on the campaign trail, playing down his Indian heritage.
‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley
Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.
“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.
This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.
The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.
The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.
As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.
In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.
“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.
Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.
Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.
Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.
His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.
“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.
No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat
Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.
“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.
Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.
“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.
Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”