Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, the first Indian-American to serve in the state legislature, said that if McCain chooses Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as his running mate, many of the state’s Indians would be tempted to vote for him.
But while New Jersey has one of the largest Indian populations in the country, Chivukula (D-FranklinTownship) said that there aren’t enough of them to change the statewide tide.
“I’m sure it will have some impact, yes. But Indian-Americans are not a large percentage, so it’s not going to be that much,” he said.
As of the 2000 census, New Jersey’s Indian population stood at about 180,000. If the population has increased this decade at the same pace it did in the 1990s, then that number has grown considerably.
Chivukula, however, feels that he and Obama both represent the American Dream realized. Chivukula came to the United States from India in 1974 as a student, eventually becoming an electrical engineer, an American citizen, a councilman, a mayor and, in 2002, an Assemblyman.
Obama’s rise was more meteoric and his profile much higher, but Chivikula sees a resemblance to his own story in Obama’s – particularly in his Kenyan immigrant father and his nomadic childhood.
“For me there is a lot of commonality in terms of that. He’s also well-educated and professional, and about giving the opportunity to ideas and changing the idea of America. I think it’s a great thing,” he said.