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An indepth report of the South Asian candidates from Elections 2016



Kamala Harris (D), Ami Bera (D), Ro Khanna (D), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Pramila Jayapal (D)

Kamala Harris (D), Ami Bera (D), Ro Khanna (D), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Pramila Jayapal (D)

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — While another chapter in American history was written with the election of Donald Trump to president Tuesday, Indian American would-be and currently established politicians etched some more history of their own.

Kamala Harris 

Californians on Tuesday elected Kamala Harris as the state’s first new U.S. Senator in 24 years, she also became the first Indian American ever elected to the Senate with her victory.

Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez, who opted to use the underdog approach with her campaign. She attempted to rally the Latino vote for her cause, as well as California’s Republicans and moderates. However, her efforts required much more work given the nature of her underfunded campaign.

Harris, the first woman elected as California attorney general, will succeed Democrat Barbara Boxer, who is retiring after serving four terms in the U.S. Senate.

The daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris becomes only the second black woman ever elected to the Senate.

Ami Bera

Rep. Ami Bera, who until last night was the lone Indian American serving in the House of Representatives, defeated Republican Scott Jones in his re-election bid. Bera will be joined by three other Indian Americans when he enters the chamber at the beginning of January’s new session.

Bera, now heading for his third term, narrowly defeated his opponent by capturing 51 percent of the vote. It marks the second consecutive occasion he’s fended off a Republican rival in the election, Bera previously defeated Republican Doug Ose in a close 2014 contest.

The Democrat successfully overcame the campaign finance scandal involving his father, Babulal. The elder Bera was recently sentenced to a prison term of one year for illegally funneling money into his son’s 2010 and 2012 Congressional campaigns.

Bera currently serves as the co-chair of the India Caucus, he also accompanied President Obama during a trip to India in 2015 and was one of the Congressmen who facilitated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Congress this year.

Ro Khanna

Fremont attorney Ro Khanna, in his second battle with incumbent Mike Honda and in his third attempt at a congressional seat, has emerged victorious against the eight-term congressman.

Khanna jumped out to an early lead in the race almost immediately after the polls closed, early numbers showed him far out in front. Returns that came during the latter hours from Alameda and Santa Clara counties cemented the victory.

Critics believed Honda had his work cut out for him after Khanna captured the party’s nomination at their June state primary. The 75-year-old Honda has also been plagued by a House ethics investigation for more than a year, allegations of using taxpayer funds for campaign purposes have been levied against him.

The contest in California’s 17th Congressional District got even dirtier just days before Election Day — Mike Honda aired a TV ad portraying Khanna as a slimy Wall Street puppet. Khanna fired back his own ads, portraying Honda as tired and unethical.

When Khanna went up against Honda in 2014, more than 20 points divided the two in the primary, a gap that the challenger closed to less than 4 points by the general election.

Founder of Indiaspora, M.R. Rangaswami was elated as he spoke to Diya TV about the representation of Indian Americans in the House with Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna all emerging victorious.

“We are one percent of the population and now we are one percent of Congress!”, he said.

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi won the Illinois 8th Congressional District race against Republican Peter DiCianni. Krishnamoorthi and DiCianni were both trying to win the seat vacated by Tammy Duckworth, who won Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat Tuesday night.

The Illinois-based businessman received an endorsement from President Obama. “As the son of immigrants who worked their way into the middle-class, Raja understands both the challenges facing America’s working families and the opportunities their work make possible,” Obama said in his endorsement.

The 42-year-old was born in Delhi and grew up in Peoria, Illinois. He served as policy director of President Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, as well as deputy treasurer of Illinois from 2007 through 2009. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination of Illinois State Comptroller, losing to David E. Miller by less than one percent of the vote.

Krishnamoorthi is the co-founder of InSPIRE, a non-profit organization that provides training to Illinois students and veterans in solar technology and was formerly Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Innovation Council, whose mission is to promote innovative technologies that support economic growth and job creation in Illinois.

“I am someone who believes very much in entrepreneurship and helping small businesses to grow because I believe that they are at the heart of economy,” he was quoted as saying earlier this year.

Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal defeated Brady Walkinshaw Tuesday in Washington’s 7th Congressional District.

By winning the seat occupied since 1988 by retiring U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, Jayapal becomes the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress.

The 52-year-old state senator, whose campaign carried the endorsement of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, had 57 percent in Tuesday returns in the Seattle-area clash featuring two Democrats. Both candidates referenced the U.S. presidential contest Tuesday night. Jayapal said the result of her race means the 7th District can be “a light in the darkness” if Donald Trump emerged triumphant.

“If our worst fears are realized, we will be on the defense as of tomorrow,” she told supporters. “We will have to fight for social justice as never before.”

Walkinshaw said he and Jayapal share “a profound amount in common and as we look where our country may be headed, that’s where my concerns are,” after his defeat. Jayapal finished first among nine candidates in August’s top-two primary election with 42 percent. Walkinshaw, who would have been Washington’s first openly gay congressperson, narrowly finished second with 21 percent.

Tulsi Gabbard

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, although not South Asian American has had the support of this community due to her Hindu faith. She cruised to re-election Tuesday night, demolishing opponent Angela Kaaihue by more than 50 percent of the vote.

Gabbard, the lone Hindu American in the House of Representatives, finished the night by collecting 82 percent of the vote. Kaaihue received 19,000 votes, or 18 percent.

During her campaign, Kaaihue referred to Hawaii as a “Devil Democratic State,” adding that the island is condemned by a “local dumb mentality.”

“I am talking about God, preaching about God, restoring his kingdom back into Hawaii,” she said. “This is God’s country, America is God’s country. I am trying to educate people about that.”

Gabbard will now serve her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jay Chaudhuri

North Carolina state senator Jay Chaudhuri cruised to a smooth victory over opponent Eric Weaver. With all precincts reporting, Democrat Chaudhuri held a 31-point lead over Weaver, capturing 65 percent of the vote. His Republican opponent received just 34 percent of the vote.

Chaudhuri, an attorney, was appointed in April to the seat that was vacated by Democratic Sen. Josh Stein, who resigned to run for the state’s attorney general position. Chaudhuri won the March Democratic primary in the state. When he accepted the position, Chaudhuri resigned as general counsel to North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell in May.

Originally born in Tennessee, Chaudhuri attended Davidson College, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and the North Carolina Central University School of Law. In addition to his role for Cowell, he was also North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s special counsel and legislative counsel when Cooper was state Senate Majority Leader.

Here’s a complete list of all the victories and losses within of all South Asian American candidates.

CA – US Senate – Kamala Harris (D) wins 63% against Loretta Sanchez (D) 37%

CA17 – Ro Khanna (D) wins 59% against Mike Honda (D)  41%

CA7 – Ami Bera (D) wins 52% against Scott Jones (R) 48%

WA7 – Pramila Jayapal (D) wins 57% against Clint Didier (D) 42%

IL8 – Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) wins 58% against Pete Dicianni (R) 42%

NJ8 – Agha Khan (R) loses 19% against Albio Sries (D) 77%

GA7 – Rashid Malik (D) loses 40% against Rob Woodall (R) 61%

HI2 – Tulsi Gabbard (D) wins 81% against Angela Kaaihue (R) 19%

MI11 – Anil Kumar (D) loses 40% against Dave Trott (R) 53%

PA122 – Neil Makjija (D) loses 38.6% against Doyle Heffley (R) 59.5%

NC State Senate – Jay Chaudhuri (D) 57% wins against Eric Weaver (R) 43%

AD27 State Assembly Ash Kalra (D) wins 52.4% against Madison Nguyen 47.6%

AD42 State Assembly Rajiv Dalal (D) looses 3.04% against Laura Friedman (D) 31.89%

OH42 State House Niraj Antani (R) wins 63.2% against Pat Merris (D) 36.8%

CT31 Prasad Srinivasan (R) wins 65% against Matt Saunig (D) 32%

CT151 State Dita Bhargava (D) looses 40% againt Fred Camillo (R) 60%


Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users

Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users





Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.
Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Diya TV) — Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.

Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India. The app allow users to link their smartphones with their bank accounts and pay for goods and services online and at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Users can also make person-to-person instant money transfers, similar to PayPal.

With Tez, users pay directly from their bank account, using a Unified Payments Interface. Currently, the app works with all major banks, including Google partners Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India.

Tez is not a mobile wallet like PayTM and MobiKwik. Rather, instead of users storing money, it works more like Apple Wallet, linking the bank account, allowing payments to be deducted from the account.

According to Tez, it’s Tez Shield built-in security “helps to detect fraud, prevent hacking, and verify your identity.” Each transaction is secured with the user’s UPI PIN. Additionally, the app is secured with a Google PIN or a screen lock method such as fingerprint.

Tez says the app has partnered with a myriad of apps and vendors, including RedBus, PVR, Domino’s, Dish TV and Jet Airways. The app supports multiple languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Business owners can use the Tez with their current account to start accepting digital payments. Payments will go directly to their bank accounts “without any additional cost incurred for the transaction.”

During a launch event in Delhi, Caesar Sengupta, the head of Google’s Next Billion program said the app “works with the vast majority of Android smartphones in the country.”

The app launch took place on Sept. 18 with India Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying, “Tez by Google is perhaps the simplest form of monetary transactions.”

Since launching on Google Play and iTunes store, the app has received positive reviews by users. On the Android platform, of nearly 15,000 reviews and over 100,000 users, the app has a 3.8 star rating, with over half of the reviews being 5-star. On the Apple platform, Tez has a 4.5-star rating with 15 reviews.

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Mahindra and Ford Announce Strategic Cooperation




Ford Mahindra

Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford’s global reach and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

DEARBORN, Mich. (Diya TV) — Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford and Mahindra’s strengths, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

A Sept. 18 announcement by Ford says the “agreement between the two companies will allow each to leverage their mutual strengths during a period of unprecedented transformation in the global automotive industry.”

Areas of cooperation include:mobility programs; connected vehicle projects; electrification; product development; sourcing and commercial efficiencies; distribution within India; improving Ford’s reach within India; and improving Mahindra’s reach beyond India.

“Ford is committed to India and this alliance can help us deliver the best vehicles and services to customers while profitably growing in the world’s fifth largest vehicle market,” stated Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets.

Ford and Mahindra will work together for a period of up to three years. Following that the period may be extended.

“The changes facing the automotive industry globally are triggered by the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies and new models of urban shared mobility. Given these changes we see the need to anticipate new market trends, explore alternatives and look for ways to collaborate even as we compete and build powerful synergies that will allow rapid exploitation of the exciting new opportunities …,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra.

Mahindra is one of the leading utility vehicle manufacturers in India for over 70 years.

Mahindra owns a majority stake in Ssangyong Motor Company in Korea and is developing products like the GenZe – the world’s first electric connected scooter.

Ford is one of the largest exporters of cars from the U.S., manufacturing and exporting vehicles and engines from its manufacturing facilities in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat. India is also the second-largest Ford employee base globally, with more than 14,000 people working across the Ford India and Global Business Services operations in New Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbatore.

The Mahindra Group is a $19 billion federation of companies focused on “innovative mobility solutions, driving rural prosperity, enhancing urban living, nurturing new businesses and fostering communities.”

It is the world’s largest tractor company, by volume. It also enjoys a strong presence in agribusiness, components, commercial vehicles, consulting services, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, steel, aerospace, defense and motorcycles. Mahindra employs over 200,000 people across 100 countries.

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide.

The two companies had a brief 1995 partnership for manufacturing the Ford Escort. However, after three years, the partnership ceased.

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Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru

Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru




Duke University India

North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

DURHAM, N.C. (Diya TV) — North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

Duke University India “aims to expand the existing Duke-India partnerships, which include academic exchange programs and research collaborations,” Duke Today reported.

According to the report, the University’s current partners in India include NITI-Aayog, the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University in Ahmedabad, Narayana Health City, IIM – Udaipur, IIM – Ahmedabad, and IIT- Gandhinagar.

Duke hosted a launch event on Sept. 18, celebrating the commencement of operations, featuring a conversation between Dr. Michael Merson, vice president and vice provost for global affairs at Duke and Dr. Devi Shetty, chairman and founder of Narayana Health.

“I think we cannot think of education if we don’t think of global education,” Namrata Jha, executive director of Duke University India said in a video posted by Duke Global. “Duke University has opened a new office in India, based in Bangalore to create more partnerships – research collaborations, university partnerships, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, learning from the community, giving back to the community. And my team at Duke University’s office in India will be working with faculty at Duke to make that happen.”

“India is unique. While it has lots of challenges, it is also a hub of intellect, of forward-looking thinking, young minds. It’s a fertile ground for doing something groundbreaking in this world. If the technological innovation and great minds of Duke University could tap into the young minds of India, I think we can create wonders,” she added.

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina.  More than 430 Indian students are currently enrolled there and nearly 700 Duke Alumni live in India.

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