Indian American entrepreneur faces off against congressman with Punjabi roots

indica News Bureau-

Rep. Ro Khanna

Tech entrepreneur Ritesh Tandon, a San Jose Republican, continues his campaign for Congress to unseat Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna in California’s 17 District.

Tandon decided to run for Congress because he feels his opponent “has turned his back on our allies all over the world, including the nation of my birth, India by siding with India’s enemies like Pakistan on key security issues,” according to the Tandon campaign. Tandon supports President Donald Trump and is an avowed Republican.

Tandon, a Hindu, has spent two decades in Silicon Valley working with Jabra and Cisco and Jabra among others, according to published reports.

Tandon, 46, has been president of nonprofit Uttar Pradesh Mandal of America (UPMA). He also serves on the Sankara Eye Foundation’s executive council, according to published reports.

He and his wife, computer engineer Zurica, also a computer engineer, are both American citizens. They have two children, according to news releases from the campaign.

Tandon emigrated from India to the U.S. in 1999, at age 28, and earned a master’s in computer engineering and business at Santa Clara University, according ot the campaign. He earned a bachelor’s in engineering at Lalbhai Dalpatbhai College of Engineering in Gujarat, India.

Tandon boasts that his grandfather Kanhaiyalal Tandon was a “freedom fighter” for India’s independence.

Khanna has been criticized by members of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)-USA  who are urging him to withdraw from the Pakistan congressional caucus and not talk against the Indian administration or express his views on the recent abrogation of Article 370 and 35A relating to Jammu & Kashmir.

Khanna recently joined the Pakistan caucus and on Aug 29 he tweeted: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist(s) and Christians.”

BJP supporters in the US have been asking Khanna to delete the tweet claiming that it is sending a negative message across the US, especially in the Indian community.

Khanna, 43, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Punjabi-Indian parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s, according to his official biography.

Khanna’s father is a chemical engineer who graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the University of Michigan, and his mother is a substitute school teacher. Khanna’s maternal grandfather, Amarnath Vidyalankar, was part of India’s independence movement, working with Lala Lajpat Rai, and spent years in jail in the pursuit of human rights and freedom, according to his official biography.

Khanna taught economics at Stanford University, law at Santa Clara University, and American Jurisprudence at San Francisco State University, according to his biography.

Khanna has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Yale University.

California’s 17th District encompasses San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Newark, Fremont, and Milpitas.


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