WASHINGTON: Conservative-minded Indian Americans are forming a new Republican group to mobilise the community to back Republican candidates in what the founder calls “a very important time in history,” according to a media report.
Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, a prominent Indian-American businessman and a major supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has taken the lead in forming the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC).
The coalition aims to promote conservative principles such as free markets and limited government, with a focus on how they relate to Indian Americans, Fox News reported.
The organization is modelled after groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition, and plans to spend big in next year’s elections, it said.
“This is a very important time in history. The country has suffered so much so dramatically in the last eight years, and another four or eight years of the same direction, the US as we know it will come to an end,” Kumar told FoxNews.com.
While many Hindus are ideologically conservative-leaning, they have not yet mobilized to vote for Republicans, he said.
“Hindu Americans tend to be like other minorities when it comes to voting – they are Democrats or are neutral, or they just don’t vote,” said Kumar, chairman of AVG Advanced Technologies.
Yet the RHC is hoping to change this, and has gained the backing of some big-name Republicans, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreeing to serve as honorary chairman for the group.
Kumar said they have received a great deal of support from the Republican National Committee and high-ranking congressional Republicans.
They are also hoping to organize a congressional delegation to travel to India after they formally launch the coalition next month.
Additionally the RHC is hoping that in light of the 2014 election of business-minded PM Modi, the US and India can draw closer on a number of issues, including getting the US to rely more on India for manufacturing than China.
Kumar said that while the RHC is proud that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal – whose family is from India – is running, they have not yet backed any of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination in 2016.
However, Kumar has pledged to personally donate at least $2 million and raise millions more for the eventual Republican nominee, Senate and House candidates and Republican groups.