Earlier, in his opening remarks, Ajay Ghosh, Founder President and a Member of the IAPC BOD and the organizer of the Debate, said, “Indian Americans have come a long way since they started arriving on the shores of the United States in the 1960s, seeking greener pastures. They excel in almost all areas of our life here and are becoming a politically active community across the United States. As the Presidential Elections 2020 draws near, our community is split between the two major political parties. Today’s debate is to educate our community on where each party stands on the most important issues that affect the nation and the world.” IAPC Chairman Dr. Joseph Chalil, while proposing Vote of Thanks, stressed the importance of the media and congratulated IAPC for its contributions to society.
(New York, NY; October 22, 2020) The Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) organized a live Presidential Debate virtually as part of the 7th annual International Media Conference (IMC-2020) on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Broadcast on several social media platforms, and was attended live by hundreds of IAPC members, supporters, and well-wishers from around the world, the first ever Debate had participation by prominent politicians, academicians, physicians, and community leaders.
The panelists from the Republican Party were: Puneet Ahluwalia, Candidate for Lt. Governor, Virginia; Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Republican Delegate to the National Republican Party Convention; and Dr. Anand Tamhankar, a Multi-Disciplinary Expert and a Physician. The Democrats on the Panel were: Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, Candidate for Connecticut State Assembly; Dr. Hetal Gor, a Women’s Leader and OBGYN, NJ; and Anil Bansal, President of Federation of Indian Associations, NY, NJ, CT. The lively debate was moderated by Dr. Renee Mehrra, TV/News Anchor, TV Asia.
The participants eloquently and with anecdotes discussed in detail on the differencing policies and perspectives of the Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden and that of the Republican Party, President Trump on the Covid-19 Pandemic, Healthcare Policy and the Affordable care Act, the US Economy, US relationship with India and the rest of the world, with a particular focus on the UN and WHO, Immigration System, Work Visas, and the Indian Americans Awaiting for decades for Green Card approval, and the policies and programs by both the parties on Climate Change.
Advocating strongly for the Biden –Harris Ticket, Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox argued that, “As a nation, we are more deeply divided in some ways than we have ever been. We are in need of a leader who will bring us together rather than increase polarization. The rising number of former Republican officials and leading Democrats who support Vice President Biden speaks for itself. Joe Biden is the right kind of unifying candidate–a centrist candidate with the experience to do the job, the ability to rebuild our relationships domestically and abroad, and the leadership to help the United States successfully emerge from the global pandemic.”
Anil Bansal made a strong pitch for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Stating that Americans face an epic choice of this election, he said, “Our decency and democracy are at stake. When the president starts behaving like a king, fuels racism and division, and destroys science, we must wake up. Trump has clearly shown in the last four years that he is incompetent and selfish. Mr. Trump lies and cheats and mocks everyone who does not agree with him. Whereas Mr. Biden is a proven leader who is most decent, builds confidence and consensus, and believes in serving the country and its people.” He concluded his argument for the Democratic Party Ticket, Bansal argued that “We owe to our children and future generations to use the power given today and vote for stability, democracy, and bring back the soul of the nation.”
In her passionate debate as to why Indian Americans should defeat Trump and support Biden & Harris Ticket in 2020, Dr. Hetal Gor said, “In the past four years, Trump’s policies, actions, and words have all been extremely divisive. He has openly supported White supremacist groups, increased racial divide, and wreaked havoc on the social fabric of the nation. His tax cuts have widened the deficit in turn crowding out productive investment and have increased income inequality within the nation. He is unequivocally against a woman’s right to choice. Internationally, Trump has made even our allies turn their back on us. Trump’s policies have revoked India’s special trade status and levied tariffs on India’s imports. He has restricted Visas to Indian immigrants, falsely claimed that India asked the US to intervene in Kashmir, and mediate dispute with China. He has used Prime Minister Modi for his own personal advantage without doing anything constructive for Indians.”
In her argument for supporting Biden, Dr. Gor believes that “the Biden/Harris campaign will work together to restore core American values. They would make sure the US is seen as a country of a respect as they would cut down hate crime, protect houses of worship, restore the American Dream, secure our values as a nation that was built by immigrants by working to eliminate language barriers for all. Furthermore, they have and will continue to honor the contributions of Indians, and will create a safe environment for all children. They will preserve strong alliances with our allies, and strengthen US-India relationship, and supporting India’s membership in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.”
Advocating strongly to re-elect President Trump and the Republican Party candidates around the nation, Puneet Ahluwalia said, “This will ensure that our nation stays the course for unprecedented economic growth. Especially after the pandemic, we need strong committed leadership which fulfills its promises to the American people. Our nation’s economy needs a leader who is pro-business and understands the plight of hard working Americans. Biden will increase taxes and regulations which will further stifle the economy and run businesses and manufacturing out of our country. The Democratic Party leadership is purposely stalling the economy with draconian mandates to harm Republicans this election, which are playing with American lives.” On the international front, Ahluwalia argued that “Only President Trump can take on the threats of China, Iran and Russia along with other external threats around the globe. As proud Americans, we value growth, freedom and opportunity. It is for the very same reason, I have chosen to run for Lt. Governor of Virginia.”
According to Dr. Sampat Shivangi, historically US Presidents from the Democratic Party have contributed minimally to the cause of India. “It was Bush who signed the US-India civil nuclear treaty, which stands as a major foreign policy milestone of his presidency.” While Joe Biden has questioned the removal of Article 370 and CAA by Modi Government, President Trump has advanced the friendship between Indian and the US and has opposed the Chinese-Pakistani propaganda in the UN Security Council and proceedings against India on Article 370 and CAA. “It is a known fact that Trump and his Secretary of State went out of the way to support India,” he pointed out. “One has to remember Trump’s statement that India now has its best friend in the White House. It is good to have a friend of India in the White House than its adversary. Now, we the Indian Americans should support a friend of India in the November election as our gratitude towards our motherland.”
Dr. Anand Tamhankar argued that “This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make an impact with our votes by helping re-elect President Trump. He has been the most ardent supporter of Modiji’s reforms and the Indian causes, which is in contrast to the open vocal opposition to India and the removal of article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by Biden-Harris.” According to him, “Trump is the clear choice if you believe in controlled, legal, merit-based immigration versus mass uncontrolled, vote bank politics-based immigration. A border-less America is unsustainable and a big challenge to the safety and security of citizens as can be seen in Europe and countries with extremely liberal immigration policies in the past.
“Trump’s re-election means continued prosperity based on low taxation,
responsible and free market capitalism vs Democrat’s socialist policies of unsustainable free handouts,” Dr. Anand Tamhankar argued. “Look beyond the political rhetoric and Covid politics, to his administration’s glowing achievements and results in 4 years despite democrat led distractions of Impeachment, Mueller probe and other impediments. Contrast that with 47+ years of Biden in public office with little to show for it. Trump’ re-election at this critical juncture means rule of law and order versus conditions that we see in many democratic controlled cities. Is that the future we want for our next generation in America?”
In her closing remarks, Dr. Renee Mehrra, who is well known to the South Asian American community as one of the most prominent broadcast journalists in the tri-state area, said, “The candidate that is compassionate and can heal America, address inequities in education, health, boost the economy, keep our borders safe and secure, bring stability and trust, and where America is respected by the world.\. Let that candidate win and be elected as the 46th President of US.”