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Despite odds, PIO bizman hopeful of Donald Trump’s victory

| SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Oct 8, 2016, 2:16 am IST
Updated : Oct 8, 2016, 2:16 am IST

Even as opinion polls predict a clear, some say invincible, lead for Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming US presidential elections, one man of Indian origin believes that Republican no

Shalabh Kumar
 Shalabh Kumar

Even as opinion polls predict a clear, some say invincible, lead for Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming US presidential elections, one man of Indian origin believes that Republican nominee Donald Trump can still pull through. US businessman Shalabh Kumar — the “chairman of the Republican Hindu Coalition” and a prominent Indian-origin face of the Republican Party — is in India with this message. Mr Kumar believes that a Republican administration under Mr Trump will be much more favourably disposed towards India than even at present. When asked whether his organisation has any links with the ruling BJP in India, he merely smiles and says, “Many BJP leaders are my friends,” adding that if Donald Trump were to be elected President, he would work in strong partnership with PM Narendra Modi.

Mr Kumar was educated in Punjab in the 1960s, migrated to the US in 1969 and became a citizen there in 1981. When asked about his organisation and the need to invoke his Hindu identity, he says, “Hindus were losing their identity in the US” and that he now plans to change that along with the rest of the 2 million Hindu electorate in the US who are citizens there and so can vote. Mr Kumar has voiced strong support for the surgical stri-kes by India on terror lau-nch pads in PoK and claims Mr Trump too has supported it. “It’s time for Ind-ia to fight back,” he says. “The Pakistanis have kno-wn very well how to extract the maximum from the US since 1952. They’re very good at it,” he adds.

Mr Kumar faced questions at an interaction in New Delhi on Friday on the growing presence of Islamophobia in the West, but says calmly that while he’s not against Islam, he is against radicalism and extremism. “I believe the radicals are trying to hijack Islam. That is the danger,” he says.

Mr Kumar’s associates say he is in India to promote a charity event in New Jersey in the US for victims of terrorism. Inte-restingly, Kumar’s interaction with the media in New Delhi saw a strong turnout by the foreign me-dia in Delhi amid heightened excitement globally in the run-up to the US presidential polls in November. As Kumar himself points out, Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans form one of the most successful and prosperous communities in the US.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi