US President Joe Biden has nominated at least 20 Indian-Americans, including 13 women, to key positions in his administration, a record for the small ethnic community that constitutes one percent of America’s population. However, the list has so far excluded some Indo-Americans who worked on the Biden campaign, allegedly due to their RSS-BJP links.
The names like Sonal Shah and Amit Jani have not made to Biden’s list of nominated Indian-Americans to be appointed in his administration. The two Obama administration staffers have so far been excluded allegedly due to their links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reported The Tribune.
Father of Sonal Shah, who has served on Biden’s unity task force, was the president of Overseas Friends of BJP-USA and is the founder of RSS-run Ekal Vidyalaya. Shah has reportedly raised funds for Ekal Vidyalaya, as per the report.
The exclusion of Jani may have been the case of lax vetting, it said.
According to the report, those with RSS-BJP links have not found a place in Biden’s team because secular Indian-American organisations have urged his transition team to keep such individuals on the sidelines.
The Democrats may have been more cautious about including those with BJP-RSS links in the government following renewed activism by organisations opposed to the Hindutva project and also after witnessing the fate of such candidates, said the report citing sources.
Srinivas Rao Preston Kulkarni lost the congressional race to his Republican rival Troy Nehls in a hotly contested battle in Texas’ 22nd district after strident opposition from Indian-American organisations, as per the report. Also, Tulsi Gabbard lost political ground because of this reason, it said.
Among the names of India-Americans that have been nominated by Biden, Neera Tanden is topping the list, who has been nominated as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Dr Vivek Murthy has been nominated as the US Surgeon General, Vanita Gupta has been nominated as Associate Attorney General Department of Justice, and former foreign service official Uzra Zeya has been nominated as the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
For the first time, the Indian-Americans nominated for Biden administration include two who trace their roots to Kashmir: Aisha Shah, who has been named as Partnership Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy and Sameera Fazili, who would occupy the key position of Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council (NEC) in the White House.
White House National Economic Council also has another Indian-American, Bharat Ramamurti, as Deputy Director.(With inputs from PTI)
Courtesy – MoneyControl