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More Indian Americans to join race for US Congress in 2024

New Delhi, Dec 2, 2023
The Samosa Caucus has indeed become the “flavour of the House” in the US with a record five Indian-Americans getting elected to the House of Representatives in one of the most polarised mid-term elections in the country last year.

And as hoped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the country in 2023, the community continues to grow and “brings full diversity of Indian cuisine” to American politics with nearly 50 of them now in state legislatures, compared to just 10 a decade back.

Named after the popular Indian snack, the ‘Samosa’ Caucus is a moniker given by lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi to the group of Indian-origin Americans in the US Congress, which includes him, Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Shri Thanedar.

Before them, Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian-American politician in 1965 who served the US House of Representatives till 1963.

In the years between Saund’s election and the 2012 election of Congressman Ami Bera, Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal was the only other member of Indian-American descent elected to the legislative branch of the federal government in 2004.

Following the 2016 elections, Kamala Harris made history twice — first as the first Indian American to be sworn into the Senate, and then as the first woman and first person of colour to serve as Vice President.

As the lone Indian-American presiding over the US Senate at present, Harris will be running as President Joe Biden’s mate in the 2024 elections.

Constituting nearly 2 per cent of the US population, Indian Americans now represent roughly 1 per cent of the US Congress, and all of them are Democrats.

Members of the House of Representatives — a chamber of 435 members — serve two-year terms and are considered for reelection every even year. Each member represents a portion of their state known as a Congressional District, which averages 700,000 people.

In the 2024 presidential elections, voters will also be choosing new members of Congress when they fill in their ballots, and the present 118th Congress, convened on January 3, 2023, will conclude on the same date in 2025.

The last election in 2022 saw Thanedar, a former businessman-turned-politician from India, defeating Martell Bivings to become the first Indian-American to win a Congressional seat from Michigan.

Krishnamoorthi was re-elected for the fourth consecutive term by a comfortable margin after defeating his Republican opponent Chris Dargis.

While Khanna trounced Republican Ritesh Tandon in the 17th Congressional District of California, Jayapal won the 7th Congressional District of Washington State, defeating Cliff Moon.

Bera has been the Congress’ longest-serving Indian-American. Since 2013, he has served as the 7th Congressional District of California.

Recently, Niraj Antani, Ohio’s first Indian American State Senator, announced his campaign for Congress from the state’s second congressional district.

The 32-year-old Republican will be contesting the primary in March next year for the seat currently held by Congressman Brad Wenstrup.

Days after winning a seat in Virginia Senate this month, state assembly member Suhas Subramanyam announced his candidacy for US Congress from Virginia’s 10th District.

According to ‘The New York Times’, more than three dozen members of Congress have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2024, setting the stage for major turnover in the upcoming ballot.(Agency)

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