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US polls: Chivukula stands tall among Indian-American ruins

By George Joseph in New York
Last updated on: November 04, 2009 14:44 IST
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Several areas that voted for the Democratic Party and President Barrack Obama last year deserted the party, handing over victories to the Republicans in the gubernatorial race in New Jersey and Virginia.

Conservative Republican Bob McDonnell won as the governor of Virginia ending an eight-year rule of Democrats. He defeated Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie, a former US Attorney, defeated Governor Jon Corzine.

Acknowledging the importance of the race, President Obama himself had attended a few events for fundraising. But it did not influence the voters. The defeats could be interpreted as people's disapproval of the policies and programs of Obama, analysts say.

The elections in several states did not create much of an impact for the Indian community.

Though three Indian Americans ran for the New Jersey State Assembly, only Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula won for the fifth term from District 17. His running mate Assemblyman Joe Egan, too, won from the District which elects two people.

Indian-American Dr Salim Nathoo and Anthony Mazzola, the Republican opponents, could not get many votes.

Egan got 29,607 votes (32 percent) and Chivukula got 27,815 votes. (30 percent) Mzzola, received  17,955 votes or 20 percent and Nathoo got 16,357 votes or 18 percent.

In the 19th district, well-known activist Peter Kothari got 16,791 votes (20 percent). Chivukula earlier said he did not expect much of a problem in the re-election. He said that the high rate of property tax was the main concern everywhere including the 17th District. Other than that, there are local problems related to transportation and traffic management. Affordable housing is another major problem.

"But most people are happy with my track-record. Some macro issues cannot be solved by a legislator. People know the limitations of what a legislator can do," he said then.

He said he always worked to find solutions to problems and help the people. As the only Indian American assemblyman from the tristate area, the issues related to the Indian community is very dear to him.

Last time he won with 15411 votes against the 10101 of his Republican rival. When the election results came, he was in India as part of a delegation of US legislators on a tour to learn about Indian systems.

He said he will continue the work in the fifth term also for reducing the debt of the state and improving the infrastructure, healthcare and school system.

Andhra-born Chivukula is happy that he could keep the trust of the people in successive elections.

'I am grateful that people in New Jersey, treat me with great respect and consider me one of their own. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to have built strong ties with all communities. I strongly believe, the one thing that ties us all together is the human spirit and we must do everything possible for the humanity, irrespective of race, religion, color, gender, etc. We must respect people of all types and work towards eliminating racial bias and discrimination,' he said earlier.

In New York

Though New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg won for a third time, the victory margin of votes between him and his Democratic opponent William Thompson was thin. Bloomberg got 557,059 (50.6 percent) while Thompson received 506,717 votes  (46 percent)

New York City Councilman John Liu has won as City Comptroller. This is the first time an Indian American gets elected to a citywide post. In New York City Council District 4, Republican Ashok Chandra got only 24.7 percent votes, 7122 votes.

In the Clarkstown Town Council in Rockland County, New York, Aney Paul was pushed to the third position. She received 7113 votes, fewer than 650 votes  to win the race.

In the Nassau County, Mathew George lost for the post of New Hempstead Town Councilman.

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George Joseph in New York