An Indian-American doctor has expressed hope that Democratic party’s presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s surging popularity will help him enter the US House of Representatives by winning a traditionally Republican seat in the suburb of Detroit. Mumbai-born 65-year-old urologist Anil Kumar, who specialises in robotic surgery, is trying his luck to enter the US Congress for the second time after he was eliminated in the primaries in his first attempt in 2014.
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Armed with the popular support from the entire South Asian base and the growing popularity of Clinton, Kumar said the latest internal polls showed that he was within the margin of error with his Republican incumbent David Trott.
“No integration (of the immigrants) is complete, unless we are integrated politically,” Kumar told PTI in Detroit in the most populous city of the US state of Michigan.
In addition to the policy of healthcare, employment and education that he is advocating for his constituents, Kumar said one of the reasons for him deciding to run for the Congress was to pave the way for the next generation of Indian Americans to be part and parcel of the political mainstream.
“It is important that we do more in the political arena,” he said.
The 11th Congressional District of Michigan has some 400,000 voters. Indian Americans account for some 20,000 and then there are 4,000 Pakistani Americans who have thrown their weight for him.
Kumar is running an effective campaign with a big team of 250 volunteers, 60 interns, several paid staff working from five offices spread over his sprawling constituency located in the northwest of Detroit.
Kumar made Detroit his home after he landed in the US in 1984 following his departure from Mumbai. He earned his medical degree from Mumbai.
“It’s a tight race. And with Clinton’s popularity gaining ground, my chances have become better,” Kumar said.
Another Indian-American Syed Taj, who lost the election by 22,000 votes in 2012, is also campaigning for Kumar this time. “He has a chance as the poll dynamics and demographics have changed,” Taj said. However, mainstream media and political pundits consider it a safe seat for the Republicans.
“This could potentially be a race to keep an eye on if Trump’s numbers continue to fall,” Detroit Free Press said. Kumar said, if elected, he would work towards improving relationship between India and the US.
“A larger and better representation of Indian Americans in the Congress would help strengthening the bond of India-US relationship,” he said.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing a tremendous job. We (in the Congress) can further enhance it,” said Kumar, who so far has been endorsed by several top Democratic leaders, including Senator Carl Levin.