Indian American runs for Republican nomination for Lt. Governor of Virginia


A prominent Indian American businessman is all set to run for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

Puneet Ahluwalia is seeking to bring diversity to the country’s political landscape at a time when there is a sudden national surge in violence against the Asian-American community.

The Republican party is slated to pick its nominee for the Lieutenant Governor at a hybrid convention on May 8.

To his support, the Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev had come out in support of Ahluwalia on Facebook, posting a video saying, “Wishing all the luck”.

“I hope, I can come and help you,” he said in the video.

If elected, would be the first Indian American to be elected to a high position in the state of Virginia.

“I came to this country with almost nothing, built a business, married a wonderful woman who also immigrated, and raised a beautiful family,” said Ahluwalia to reports.

“Thank you to my friend Kapil Dev, one of the greatest cricket players ever, for these kind words of support,” Ahluwalia, 55, said.

Over the past several months, he and his team of volunteers have been crisscrossing the entire state of Virginia campaigning on his platform to create jobs and the economic book of Virginia.

“Now, I’m running for Lieutenant Governor. One reason is that I want to help every American share in the opportunity and blessing of America – no matter the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the country where they were born,” he said.

Delhi-born Ahluwalia migrated to the US in 1990. His wife Nadia is originally from Afghanistan.

The brief video of support from Kapil Dev is expected to give a boost to Ahluwalia’s campaign in Virginia, which over the past one decade has seen a rapid expansion of Indian Americans, and also those from other cricket-loving South Asian countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, especially in townships around the Washington DC area.

Virginia, notably, also has a number of local cricket clubs.

He noted that his party has not been able to reach out to other ethnic and religious minorities in the state.

“The tone matters. The conditioning matters. It’s a matter of reaching out to them. This is not a matter of policy,” he said, adding that the Republican Party’s policy perfectly fits with the immigrant community, the ethnic communities like Asian-Americans.

Ahluwalia said there has been a great support to his candidacy not only from rural Virginia but also from the ethnic communities, be it the Indian-Americans, Afghan-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans or Korean-Americans.

In 2010, Virginia ranked seventh in terms of number of Indian Americans in a US state. In 2019, according to University of Virginia estimates, there were more than half a million Asian Americans in the state.