Donald flashes Hindu Trump card
New Jersey: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump whose winning chances are seen diminishing, has turned to the large Indian population in the US to enlarge his voter base. On Saturday, addressing a meeting of about 5,000 ethnic Indians at Edison, New Jersey, an Indian-American stronghold, Trump went eloquent about Hindus and India that was music to right-wingers’ ears in the US and India.
While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to impress upon Brics leaders at their summit in Goa the urgent need to tackle terrorism, Trump hit out at ‘radical Islamic terrorism and pontificated to an exclusive Hindu/Indian gathering that “there would be a phenomenal future for India and the United States under his administration.”
What the Times of India called ‘conflation’, Trump rattled off how important India is for him and how much business Americans could do with India if he is in the White House. “If I am elected President, the Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in White House,” Trump said, adding: “Incredible people and incredible country … Generations of Indians and Hindu-Americans have strengthened our country…their values of hard work, education and enterprise have truly enriched our nation and we will be celebrating a Trump administration together.”
Promising a new era in Indo-US ties, the Republican presidential nominee said: “Under a Trump administration, we are going to become even better friends. In fact, I will take the word even out because we are going to be best friends … a shoulder-to-shoulder cooperation with India in sharing intelligence and keeping our people safe.”
According to the New York Times, the event was organized by Shalabh Kumar, the founding chairman of the Republican Hindu Coalition, one of the biggest Hindu financial backers of Trump campaign. Billed as a charity concert, with Bollywood glamour and glitz of song and dance, it was one of the few ethnic events Trump had agreed to address and make it a memorable event for his party supporters from the rich Indian Diaspora.
What was striking in Trump’s address to the New Jersey rally was his equating India with Hindus and mentioning only the majority community and hailing it as partners in America’s progress. Political observers in India and the US wonder whether it is Trump’s ignorance of India’s multi-ethnicity or is it a deliberate ploy to woo Hindu right-wingers, although a majority of Indian immigrants support the Democratic Party.