Indian-Americans for Trump? Only a handful

Democrats remain the preferred choice, a book written by Indian American professor.

Updated - October 18, 2016 01:10 pm IST

Published - March 27, 2016 10:00 pm IST - WASHINGTON:

An effigy of Donald Trump before it was burned during an Easter ritual late on Saturday in Mexico City.

An effigy of Donald Trump before it was burned during an Easter ritual late on Saturday in Mexico City.

A handful of Indian Americans who sought to mobilise support among the community for Republican front runner Donald Trump are finding the going tough. They have registered a Political Action Committee, but their activities have so far been limited to occasional Facebook updates and some press releases, but Dev Makkar, a New Jersey-based businessman, and a founding member of Indians For Trump, plans to organise a community event after Mr. Trump wins the nomination. “He is the only choice. And he is the best for India.”

This group believes that Republicans are better than Democrats for India. “Bill Clinton visited India towards the end of his tenure. But George W Bush is the one who really transformed India’s relations with the U.S.,” Mr. Makkar says. Mr. Makkar grew up in Delhi and his father was an RSS activist. He himself spent his student days as an RSS volunteer and ABVP activist. Now a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Makkar believes the “the corrupt, inept” leadership of the BJP under Mr. Modi has “ruined the India story”. “The cow protection campaign has broken the backbone of marginal Hindu farmers who could sell their invalid cattle for a good price earlier”, he said. Mr Makkar thinks Mr Trump’s anti-Muslim statements are all taken out of context.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a Padma Shri awardee and another founding member of the campaign has now dissociated from It. He says his support for Mr Trump was seen by many of his friends in the community as premature.

Most Indians, continue to prefer the Democratic Party, argues Sangay K. Mishra, who teaches political science at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and is the author of Desis Divided: The Political Lives of South Asian Americans , published earlier this month.

Mr. Mishra argues that the participation of South Asians in American politics is less than one would anticipate, considering their economic and education resources. “The empirical evidence… presents a different picture: not only is the rate of political participation among South Asians rather low.”

Mr. Mishra argues that religious identities have shaped the mobilisation patterns within the South Asian communities who respond not only to their American experiences but also to politics back home.

However, he argues that despite these divisions within the Indian-American community, their historic preference for the Democrats will continue through this election cycle. “Though these Hindutva groups may support anti-Muslim sentiments in India, they would not be easily impressed by the rhetoric of Mr Trump or Ted Cruz,” he says.

Trump effigy burnt An effigy Donald Trump — a hated figure for many in Mexico — was set ablaze late Saturday in a contemporary twist on a Holy Week ritual. A smiling figure of the billionaire American businessman went up in flames during the Easter eve “Burning of Judas”, a tradition in which Mexicans torch effigies of the devil — and of public figures they dislike.

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