Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna Defeats Pro-Modi Challenger

Congressman Ro Khanna has won 65% of all votes cast to deal a heavy defeat to pro-Modi candidate Ritesh Tandon in primary elections in California's 17th district that covers part of Silicon Valley. Khanna angered many of his Indian-American constituents last summer when he criticized Prime Minster Narendra Modi's Hindutva politics and joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.

California 17 Election Results: 

Incumbent Congressman Ro Khanna received 46,657 votes or 65,1% of the votes cast in CA17 district in yesterday's primary elections. His main challenger Ritesh Tandon trailed far behind with 17,337 votes or  24.2% of all votes cast, according to New York Times.

California 17th Congressional District Results. Source: New York Times

Khanna thanked his supporters in a tweet yesterday after "beating Ritesh Tandon who ran on Islamophobia and right wing nationalism in India".

Congressman Ro Khanna with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill
Ritesh Tandon, an Indian-American technology entrepreneur, said Khanna "has turned his back on our allies all over the world, including the nation of my birth, India by siding with India’s enemies like Pakistan on key security issues”, according to Indica News.


Khanna Rejects Hindutva:

L to R: Ro Khanna, Riaz Haq
Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”  On August 17, Khanna became the first Indian-American to join US Congress's Pakistan caucus headed by Democratic Congresswoman Shiela Jackson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana. Khanna's decision to join Pakistan caucus came after he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his July visit to Washington. After his July meeting with Khan Khanna tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."


Pakistani-American Support:

Congressman Ro Khanna has received support from Pakistani-American community for his courageous and principled stand on issues affecting South Asia. He regularly attends community events organized by Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley. I met him at a dinner hosted at the house of a Pakistani-American family that owns local Mirchi restaurant in Fremont. He assured the community he would continue to work to address issues such as Islamophobia that affect Muslims in America.

Summary:

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has dealt a heavy defeat to his pro-Modi challenger Ritesh Tandon in California primary elections. Khanna has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Violence in #India Threatens Its Global Ambitions. #Indian Officials said on condition of anonymity that they're on the defensive when foreign dignitaries arrive in #Delhi. #pogrom #Islamophobia #Modi #AmitShah #BJP #Hindutva https://nyti.ms/2xfLAq1

Much of the world remained quiet, or cautious, in recent months as India began locking up hundreds of opposition politicians and activists without charge across the country. Business executives say they are too afraid to speak out about shortcomings in the government’s economic strategy. The press complains of government intimidation.

Still, there was President Trump last week, embracing Mr. Modi in New Delhi, where streets were dotted with posters declaring the “world’s oldest democracy meets the world’s largest democracy.”

But as the leaders celebrated each other in India’s capital, Hindu mobs began going after Muslim protesters in neighborhoods just a few miles away while the police looked on or joined in. And it was those images — the return of sectarian violence on the streets, not the carefully crafted show of international partnership — that set the tone for India on the world stage over the past week.

On Wednesday, Freedom House, a nonpartisan democracy advocacy organization, flagged India as a major concern.

“The Indian government has taken its Hindu nationalist agenda to a new level with a succession of policies,” the group said, “threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia and the world.”


In a rare move, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights filed a petition in India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday to challenge a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. Some of India’s closest partners have begun criticizing its treatment of Muslims and migrants, with condemnations coming in from Iran, the United States, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

“If India loses that secular, democratic identity then it loses what makes it different than other countries in Asia. We are all watching the riots in Delhi and worry they are going down a dangerous road that makes it harder for us to be a strong advocate for India,” said Representative Ami Bera, a California Democrat who is the longest-serving Indian-American in Congress.

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In private conversations, diplomats are worried that the rhetoric coming from Mr. Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party is creating an environment that could lead to more violence. They point out that B.J.P. members have been labeling protesters and opposition supporters as terrorists who were supported by Pakistan. One minister led crowds in chants of “shoot the traitors!”

One area where international officials believe that India may be particularly hurting itself is in its campaign to be granted a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council along with other nuclear powers. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several diplomats, including some from countries that have publicly pushed for an Indian seat on the Security Council, say that their governments are now reluctant to push the issue after India’s domestic unrest has laid bare the effects of Hindu nationalism there.

During his first campaign for prime minister in 2014, Mr. Modi downplayed his Hindu agenda. His first term was marked by an energetic foreign policy and alliance building. Domestically, he focused on development and economic reforms. He promoted himself as a globalizer and unifier, friends with everyone: the Israelis and Palestinians, the Russians and the Americans.

After winning a second term last year, Mr. Modi’s government prioritized issues that appealed to its Hindu-nationalist base, and the prime minister himself talked less about economic reform.
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump is enabling #Modi’s #Islamophobia in #India . But so are many #Indian #Americans . It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity.

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-enabling-modis-islamophobia-india-191500320.html

The violence was spurred by different perspectives: nationalists supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and anti-CAA protesters. The CAA was passed in December, granting a track to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi backgrounds. The stated goal was to protect refugees coming from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That is, refugees who are not Muslim. Muslim identities were conveniently left out of the amendment, but these three countries are Muslim majority nations. These same Muslim identities are also some of the most persecuted in the world, notably the Rohingya, who are fleeing to Bangladesh following ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not helped matters very much, brashly throwing around anti-Muslim rhetoric. From potentially gaslighting millions of citizens, assuring them of no religious bias, to revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, another Muslim-majority state, Modi is clearly promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda. He, like Trump, is also the victor in an election campaign that has used fearmongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric to consolidate support.


Modi's and Trump’s kinship makes sense in this context. During a Houston rally in the fall, Modi said he supports Trump's efforts to "Make America Great Again." Trump and Modi pledged to support each other's efforts to “protect innocent civilians from radical Islamic terrorism.” From enacting a “Muslim ban” during his first days in office to speech that far too often denigrates minorities, Trump has encouraged the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment that dovetails with the Islamophobic atmosphere in India right now — and indeed is increasingly spreading around the world.

The consequences of this atmosphere can be seen in the language used by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which threatens to denaturalize Muslims across the country. As Ravi Kishan, a prominent member of Parliament and supporter of the CAA, said recently, “India has always been a Hindu nation.”

As a first-generation, Indian American immigrant myself, I watch what is happening both in my home and the homes of many of my family members with frustration — and yet the Indian diaspora remains largely silent. Where is the outrage? I recognize the struggle and the fear of appearing “too American” or “too Westernized.” And I recognize the desire to want to connect with our homeland and its heritage. We, as immigrants, hold a double identity that we constantly battle to balance.
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It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity. We need to stand in solidarity with those working for the betterment of India. We must call out those who don’t dare decry Modi’s actions, those who are so easily seduced by Trump’s saccharine tweets in Hindi; tweets which ignore the crippling afflictions in India. We cannot let Trump’s deceptive techniques fool us into believing he has our interests at heart, as he has apparently fooled both Indians and Indian American immigrants alike.

Indian American immigrants might rather avoid this messy topic. But we cannot settle for an authoritarian government — neither in America nor in India. We must confront the discomfort on social media and in WhatsApp chats. If we sit idly by, we are complicit.

The heart of India is burning. Pointing out the flaws is the only path toward a better India — an India we can all be proud of.

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