Indian-Americans open up wallets for Barack Obama

The Mitt Romney campaign does not appear to have been successful in getting a pie into the Indian-American money bag.

Updated: Sep 03, 2012, 13:06 PM IST

Washington: The Indian-American community, having the highest per capita income among the ethnic communities in the US, appears to have opened up its wallet for the Obama Campaign, but its contribution is far less than that of 2008.

The Mitt Romney campaign, which last week at Republican National Convention wooed the community by inviting a record number of Indian-Americans to address the event, does not appear to have been successful in getting a pie into the Indian-American money bag, the list of major Romney donors available from open source documents indicate.

Florida-based Dr Akshay Desai appears to be the only Indian-American to have raised more than USD 1 million for the Romney campaign, which unlike the Obama Campaign, has remained very secretive in revealing the list of its major donors.

Desai has been named as Romney`s "stars and stripes" - the small group of top fund raiser for the campaign.

He is also the only Indian-American serving on the Romney national finance team. In fact, he was also a Romney bundler (major fund raiser) in his previous presidential bid in 2008.

"Republican Party donor base at all levels is very motivated and energized. I am very confident that we will out raise President Obama in the month of August and every month leading up to November election. We will match and surpass President Obama’s goal to have raised one billion dollars. We are confident that we will have resources to get our voice out to the public and win the election on strength of our ideas," Desai told a news agency.

If Desai is the only major Indian-American donor for the Romney campaign, the list of bundlers made public by the Obama campaign names nearly half a dozen who have raised between half a million to one million US dollars.

Major Indian-American bundlers as released by the Obama Campaign are Rajiv Fernando (Chicago), Shefali Razdan Duggal (San Francisco), Reshma Saujani (New York), Raj Goyle (New York), Kamil Hasan (Saratoga in California) and Ajita Razi (California).

Eminent Indian-American author and physician Dr Deepak Chopra has raised between USD 100,000 and USD 200,000 for the Obama campaign, so does Kavita Tankha (Los Altos Hills in California) and Girish Reddy (Jersey City in New Jersey).
Among other major Indian-American donors are Maneesh Goyal (New York), Anu Duggal (New York), Didi Saluja (New York), Amy K Singh (Illinois) and Shelly Kapoor Collins.

"I am quite confident that President Obama will be re-elected in November. As became crystal clear at the Republican National Convention last week, the Romney/Ryan ticket is focused on resurrecting the failed policies of the Bush Administration," Shefali Razdan Duggal told a news agency.

The Obama campaign has listed her among USD 500,000 to USD 1 million category.

"The US electorate is well aware of the cost that the US economy continues to pay from the policies of greed and trickledown economics that always seem to only trickle up to the rich. Of course, by promising to reward the wealthy, Romney has been able to tap them to build a fundraising lead. In the end, it will be votes and not dollars that win the election," Duggal said.

Interestingly, none of the Obama bundlers in 2008 elections figure in the list this time.

While Vinai K Thummalapally from Colorado and Deven Parekh from New York had raised more than USD 100,000 in 2008; Karim Alibhai (Florida), Jatinder Bedi, Sunil Puri and Balvinder Singh - all from Illinois - had raised more than USD 50,000.

Also except for Kamil Hasan from California, none of the 2008 bundlers of Hillary Clinton figure among the Obama bundlers this time.

In 2008, the top Indian-American bundlers for Hillary were Sant Chatwal and his son Vikram Chatwal, Talat Hasan, Kishore Kaul, Arvind Raghunathan, Anil Shah, Prakash Shah, K Singh and Mahinder Tak.

All of them each had raised more than USD 100,000 for Hillary`s presidential bid in 2008.