The South Asian Times

15 December 2019 02:32 AM

Top Indian-American Congressional Staffer to leave office


Washington DC: A top Indian-American Congressional staffer has decided to resign from the post following a firestorm of controversy in the last few months.

Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had recently found himself at the center of American politics after he called moderate Democrats who had advocated for the $4.59 billion emergency border funding bill as "Southern Democrats," thereby in effect calling them racists.

Chakrabarti drew much criticism, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for insulting other Democratic lawmakers that supported the bill. His remark even prompted a tweet from the HouseDemocrats account, saying, "Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?"

In addition to this, Chakrabarti also faced backlash from several right-wing outlets in the country, as well as Republican supporters, for wearing a t-shirt with an image of Subhash Chandra Bose emblazoned on it.

What led to the uproar is that some perceived Bose as "an Indian nationalist who collaborated with the Nazis” as pointed out in a report by Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The report further describes Bose as a dissenting Indian nationalist who enlisted "tens of thousands of Indian men to support the Japanese Invasion of British India in 1944 and help fight the British in Europe for Hitler."

Chakrabarti had been alongside Ocasio-Cortez since her initial run and was instrumental in her victory last year.

"Saikat has decided to leave the office of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal," the Congresswoman's office said on Friday. 

"We are extraordinarily grateful for his service to advance a bold agenda and improve the lives of the people in NY-14. From his co-founding of Justice Democrats to his work on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign and in her official office, Saikat's goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and we look forward to continuing working with him to do that."

Update: 08 Aug, 2019