South Asians for Biden has announced a strong South Asian presence on the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee. DNC Chair Tom Perez appointed three South Asians to the Platform Committee: Anurima Bhargava, President of Anthem of Us, former senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Pronita Gupta, Director of Job Quality at CLASP and former Deputy Director of the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor; and Farhana Khera, Executive Director of Muslim Advocates and former Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bhargava, Gupta, and Khera are among only 25 party leaders and elected officials appointed by Chairman Perez. The Party Platform is an important document that lays out the policy priorities and positions of the Democratic Party. This year’s Platform is built on the recommendations of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces. The Committee is in the process of finalizing the Platform in advance of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Several South Asians were elected or appointed by the Biden and Sanders campaigns to the DNC Platform Committee, including: California Assembly member Ash Kalra, the first Indian-American to serve in the California State legislature; Anand Singh, President of UNITE Here Local 2, representing 14,000 hospitality workers; Khurrum Wahid, Partner at Wahid Vizcaino LLP and National Co-Chair of eMgage; Varshini Prakash, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led movement to stop climate change; and Sonal Shah, founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, who also served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force.
“South Asians for Biden is thrilled that a number of brilliant policy experts from the South Asian community have been selected to provide input on the Democratic Party’s Policy Platform,” said Deepa Sharma, Communications Co-Chair of South Asians for Biden. “The stakes could not be higher this election cycle: Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have consistently released carefully crafted policy proposals designed to make a meaningful difference for everyone in America, while President Trump and the Republican Party are only interested in accumulating power for themselves, no matter the toll on the country,” added Sharma.
Meanwhile Joe Biden’s supporters on Thursday announced the launch of an outreach to the influential Indian-Americans in 14 languages, reflecting the linguistic diversity of an ethnic community which is being sought after by both Democrats and Republicans in the key battleground states.
For instance, “America Ka Neta Kaisa Ho, Jo Biden Jaisa Ho,” (America’s leader needs to be like Biden) has been picked from a popular election campaign slogan from the world’s largest democracy.
Opposition Democratic Party’s election slogan in Indian languages comes four years after the phenomenal success of Trump campaign’s election slogan in 2016, “Ab Ki Trump Sarkar” (This time, Trump government), on the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 election catch-line “Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkaar”.
Ajay Bhutoria, national finance committee member for Biden for President 2020, said the campaign is planning to reach out to the Indian-American voters in their own languages.
Currently, he is collaborating with the Biden Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Team to communicate directly with Indian-Americans in more than 14 languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Urdu , Kannada, Malayalee, Oriya, Marathi and Nepali.
Bhutoria, in a statement, acknowledged that this is influenced by his upbringing in India, wherein elections are community celebrations, with catchy slogans and rallies featuring Bollywood music on loudspeakers.
“The Biden campaign felt that there was a need to create campaign graphics in regional Indian languages so that our diverse community feels even more connected to Joe Biden,” said Neha Dewan, national director, South Asians for Biden.
“As vice president, Biden often reminds us that immigrants are a core chapter of the American story. ‘Our country’s ability to draw hard-working people from every culture and every nation has always made us stronger’,” she said.