Friday, 22 Jan, 4.12 pm HW English

Joe Biden Dumps Democrats With Links To BJP-RSS

While the newly elected US President Joe Biden has been praised for the appointment of nearly 20 Indian-Americans in his administration, what is noteworthy are those who didn't make it.

Sonal Shah and Amit Jani, Obama administration staffers who also worked on the Biden campaign team have so far been excluded, allegedly due to their RSS/BJP links which have been brought into the limelight by over a dozen Indian-American organisations, the Tribune reported.

However, people like senior diplomat Uzra Zeya who had played a role in the Devyani Khobargade case or Samira Fazili who had joined protest rallies in the US against the CAA, NRC and the Kashmir lockdown have been included in Biden's team. According to sources, those with RSS/BJP links have not found a place while secular Indian-American organisations have maintained the pressure on the Biden-Harris Transition Team to keep such individuals on the sidelines.

Sources claimed that following renewed activism by organisations against the Hindutva project and failure of such candidates in the elections, the Democrats may have been more careful over accommodating pro-BJP/RSS elements in the government.

Sri Preston Kulkarni, a Congressional candidate, lost the elections after strident opposition from Indian-American organisations. Tulsi Gabbard, a former US Congressperson, also lost political ground because of this reason.

Though she has served on Biden's Unity Task Force, Sonal Shah's father was the President of Overseas Friends of BJP-USA and is the founder of RSS-run Ekal Vidyalaya for which she has raised funds.

In a bizarre mix-up, first named as Biden campaign's Muslim Outreach Coordinator, Amit Jani was later appointed as National Asian American and Pacific Islander Director after it was pointed out that his family has ties with PM Modi and other BJP leaders.

19 Indian-American organisations, in order to ensure that the Biden administration does not backtrack on excluding those with RSS/BJP links, have written to Biden pointing out that many South Asian-Americans individuals with ties to far-right Hindu organisations in India are affiliated with the Democratic Party.

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