by Pooja Rajesh
New York: The Republican Party is using special software to identify Hindu voters in an attempt to tap them for particularly close contests in the upcoming midterm elections.
According to Shalabh Kumar, the Hindu outreach for the Republican party and former President Donald Trump, the proprietary software has been developed in-house by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC). Shalabh is both the founder and head of the RHC, he says that the software has a success rate of 95 percent, as reported by news agency IANS.
How does the Software work?
The software allegedly works on a simple concept of narrowing names by religion, country of origin, and ethnicity and then using an algorithm for picking out the Hindu voters using their names and last names.
The primary focus is on Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Ohio — all swing states that are won or lost by extremely thin margins, making every vote count. “The funny thing is that almost 85 percent of Hindu voters in the database provided by the Republican party are identified as independent or not-committed,” Kumar said.
Another overarching classification includes Hindu Americans that covers Indian Hindus and Hindus from Nepal, the Caribbeans, Fiji, Mauritius, and other places. Notably the United States has not had a population count by religion since 1950. There are an estimated 4.5 to 5 million Hindus in the US, according to one count that includes Sikhs and Buddhists, and American Hindus.
Republicans and Hindus
Earlier in 2016, former US President Donald Trump said he loves Hindus at a campaign event hosted by Kumar in New Jersey. It was a gesture meant to woo Indian Americans at large, he also went on to promise that on his watch as President, the US would be the best friend India could have.
Kumar had founded the Republican Hindu Coalition just a year before in 2015 with a parade of senior party officials and lawmakers, making it the first significant attempt at projecting Hindus as a political force, modeled on the powerful Republican Jewish Coalition.
“The Hindu American identity has been evolving and it received an unforeseen push this year because of disquiet among many of us with the Indian government’s stand on Ukraine, which left us feeling as outsiders among Americans, most of whom were appalled by the Russian invasion on Ukraine,” said Shekhar Tiwari, a veteran of the RSS who started the American Hindu Coalition.
Overall, and not linked to the above aggression, Shalabh Kumar noted with satisfaction that Hindu Americans are playing a larger role in US politics than ever before, reported IANS.
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