Ahead of US elections, the big question arises: Will non-resident Gujaratis vote Republican or Democrat?

Following US President Donald Trump's successful visit to India, will the non-resident Gujaratis, who usually vote Democrat, re-elect the sitting US President?

Yogesh PawarUpdated: Saturday, March 07, 2020, 08:09 AM IST
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US President Donald Trump (R) US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. | AFP Photo

Ahmedabad-based Rachna Seth is cooking daal dhokli, her elder one Shruti’s favourite and asks her younger daughter Akanksha to make a video call. But the Cincinati, US-based Shruti has other exciting things on her mind like the US elections. She attempts to convey her sadness over Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the presidential race but all her talk of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg seems to have little effect on her mom and sis back home.

They only know the current US President Donald Trump who recently joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to their city. “Isn’t he the more popular guy?” her mother asks. The entrepreneur father Kalpesh Seth admits unlike most elections the NRIs are divided on this election. “Forget NRIs but NRGs (non-resident Gujaratis) have always supported Democrats given their congruence in sociopolitical approach. But this time there is confusion over support for Trump as many like my daughter see him as representing boorish patriarchy of the worst kind.”

Most contenders in these US elections are not taking the nearly 1.3 million strong Indian American vote too lightly. They are after all make for some of the most educated and wealthy Americians. None of Trump’s challengers have forgotten how he has courted the Indian diaspora and especially the Hindu vote. A 2016 Hindu American rally in Edison, New Jersey had seen a massive turnout.

The Cincinatian Shruti admits most Indian-Americans traditionally tend to vote Democratic. “They feel more comfortable in the politics of inclusion and diversity advocated by Democrats, in contrast with the majoritarian Republican approach. However, once they’ve established themselves socio-economically, they vote Republican,” she says underlining how the post-poll data had had clearly shown how 80% of Indian-American votes went to Hillary Clinton the Democrat candidate.”

Under Obama a significant number of Indians were seen in powerful positions, something Trump has continued. He has Indians advising him on science, tech, healthcare and he even selected Nikki Haley as the permanent US representative to the UN.

Over 500 km away in Mumbai’s Juhu neighbourhood collegian Vidushi Solanky is also keeping a close eye on the US elections. “I hope America votes out Fascist, imperialist mind set and reject all the candidates that have been propped up by the military industrial complex. At a time when hate and bigotry are becoming buzzwords across the world with the rise of the rabid right we need change. I am hoping it will bring a cascading effect across the world too.”

Our fingers are crossed.

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