Both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal’s parents came from PunjabBy Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
TORONTO - Parents of both Nikki Randhawa Haley, who Tuesday won the governor’s election in South Carolina, and Bobby Jindal, the other Indian American governor of Lousiana, were born to immigrants from Punjab.
Nikki Haley is the first woman and the second person of Indian origin after Bobby Jindal to become governor in the US. Jindal won the top job in Louisiana state in 2007.
While Nikki’s father Ajit Singh came to the US from Amritsar, Bobby Jindal’s (who name before his conversion to Christianity was Piyush Amrit Jindal) father Amar Jindal came from Malerkotla, not far from Amritsar.
Nikki’s victory is another sweet moment for Amritsar because the first Indian American Congressman Dalip Singh Saund , who served three terms (1957-1963) in the US Congress from California, also came from that city, the home of the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s most famous shrine.
Nikki, whose family is running a garment showroom called Exotica International in West Columbia since 1976, has been serving as a legislator in the South Carolina state assembly since 2004.
“I don’t do anything halfway - I’m in this race to win,” Nikki had told IANS in July taking time off her busy campaign for raising money.
“I am confident that come November, the people of South Carolina will send me to the Governor’s Mansion.
“When they (voters) do, I will immediately get to work to give them progress that makes them proud.”
Asked whether her Sikh background will matter in the race, she had said,”What matters most in South Carolina - and I imagine elsewhere in the country - is not the personalities of the candidates but the message they carry.
“Our message of bringing good government back to the people of this state, creating jobs by reforming our tax code so it’s flatter and fairer, and reminding government of the value of a dollar resonates with all the people of this state.
“I am very proud of my background and how I was raised. Just as in 2004 (when her opponents had raised the issue of background) I will hold my head up high and focus on what I can do for the people of this state.”
Nikki beat Democrat Vincent Sheheen who tried to steal her conservative agenda by projecting himself as “pro-life, pro-gun rights and pro-jobs”.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])