Two Indian-Americans running for Congress in New York

File Photo - Omar Vaid Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 25, 2018, 12.56 PM (IST)

Two Indian-Americans from the Democratic party have thrown their hats in the ring for the US House of Representatives from the same Congressional seat in New York.

Omar Vaid and Mohan Radhakrishnan have announced to fight out the Democratic primary to earn the party’s nomination for the November mid-term general elections to defeat the Republican incumbent Congressman Don Donavan in New York’s 11th Congressional District. While New York is a heavily Democratic leaning State, the 11th Congressional District of late has emerged as a Republican stronghold.

US President Donald Trump had won the seat in 2016. Both Vaid and Mohan seek to unseat Donavan this time. But before that they need to win the Democratic party primary for which currently more than half a dozen candidates are in the race.

Son of two immigrant parents of Gujarati-Indian heritage, Vaid grew up as a Muslim in Illinois and Florida, according to his campaign website.

Being a Muslim-American, Vaid has spoken a lot about President Donald Trump’s travel ban throughout his campaign and is focusing on a number of issues including the improvement of transportation, education, Medicare, lowering prescription drug costs, affordable housing, climate change, gun laws, veteran’s benefits, women’s rights, worker’s rights and building strong unions, protecting social security, protecting net neutrality, unity and foreign policy, according to his website.

Vaid will be running against Michael DeCillis, Michael DeVito Jr., Zach Emig, Radhakrishna Mohan, Max Rose and Paul Sperling in the Democratic primary while Rep. Donovan will be challenged by former Rep. Michael Grimm in the Republican primary.

As a member of the Democratic Party, he believes diversity is an asset and that all voices must be included, it says.

A labour union leader, Mohan, is a 27-year resident of Staten Island, New York and an active member of the Community Board 1 of Staten Island.

An eminent community leader, he is a member of the Staten Island Hindu Temple Board. “Our Democracy and country is going through a difficult time under the current administration and we should not let it go too far,” he said.

Currently there are four Indian-Americans in the US House of Representatives. In addition to Ami Bera from California who is serving his third term, three others — Ro Khanna from California, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from Washington — were elected for the first term in 2016.

They have informally formed the Samosa Caucus. All of them are from the same Democratic Party. Senator Kamala Harris from California is of mixed Indian and American heritage.

Quite a significant number of Indian-Americans are running for US Congress from various parts of the country.

Krishnamoorthi is facing two Indian-Americans – Vandana Jhingan and Jitender Digankar – from the Republican party in his re-election bid. Among other Indian-Americans running for Congress are Aruna Miller from Maryland; Anita Malik and Hiral Tipirneni from Arizona; Chintan Desai from Arkansas; Sapan Shah from Illinois, Harry Arora from Connecticut, Abhijit Das from Massachusetts, Suraj Patel from New York, Sri Preston Kulkarni from Texas, Saira Rao from Colorado; Deep Saran from Virginia and Peter Jacob from New Jersey.

(With PTI inputs)