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.

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Views: 535

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 7, 2020 at 2:35pm

#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-1915...

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.
------------------

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2020 at 4:04pm

#Coronavirus outbreak from #Nizamuddin mosque is being used by #Indian media to blame #Muslims for spreading the virus. “Corona Jihad” is trending on Twitter. This comes in the wake of recent #pogrom that killed many Muslims in #Delhi. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/india-coronavirus-cas...

The jump in number of cases was linked to an annual two-day convention of the Muslim sect Tablighi Jamaat on 13 March, for which about 3,500 people gathered from all over the country and abroad in the south Delhi neighbourhood of Nizamuddin. Almost 2,000 stayed in the area for days afterwards, and the area has become the coronavirus hotspot of India.


The outbreak from the Nizamuddin mosque gathering also inflamed religious tensions in a city still reeling from communal riots last month that took 50 lives, with Hindu mobs rampaging through the streets attacking Muslims in their homes.

Across Indian media and social networks, Muslims were blamed for spreading the virus while “Corona Jihad” began to trend on Twitter.

The gathering also appeared to trigger a spread of the virus across numerous states from Kashmir to West Bengal by those who returned home afterwards. So far, 10 people who attended the event have died while 1,800 people have been sent to nine hospitals and quarantine centres across the country.

However, despite the jump in number of cases this week, the Indian government insists there is still no community transmission and that cases have been either from those who travelled abroad or in localised incidents. Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the health ministry, told reporters: “Nowhere have we said that there is a community transmission. We are still in a local transmission in this country.”

Raman R Gangakhedkar, the head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), also insisted there was “no reason to panic at the moment”. Nonetheless, the ICMR conceded last month that community transmission was “inevitable” in India.


“Until we see a significant number of cases to indicate community transmission, let us not over interpret things,” said Gangakhedkar.

Doctors in hospitals across India said the lack of proper protective equipment available for medical staff, including basic masks, meant that patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms were being turned away. Doctors in Kolkata described how they were made to wear plastic raincoats to examine possible coronavirus patients, while a doctor in a Delhi hospital resorted to wearing a motorcycle helmet to cover his face.

One junior doctor working in a Kolkata hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated, described how “for over a week, we came in close contact with suspected corona patients without proper protective gear … We all are left at the mercy of God.”

The doctor also cast aspersions on the claim that the disease was not already spreading within impoverished communities.

“Every day thousands of people gather here, seeking treatment for many infectious diseases. Last week, I noticed, hundreds of people, with many coughing, having fever and breathing problems stood on queue waiting for their turn to be examined by us,” he said.

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