Washington, Oct 8 (PTI) Senator Kamala Harris sharing the stage with US Vice President Mike Pence for the vice-presidential debate was a proud moment for Indian-Americans, according to some prominent community members who described her as the 'winner'.
The 55-year-old feisty lawyer and Democratic Senator from California scripted history in August by becoming the first-ever Indian-origin, Black and African-American to be a vice presidential candidate of a major political party.
On Wednesday night, millions of people across America and other parts of the globe were glued to their television sets to see her perform on the debate stage with Pence, a Republican.
In a tweet, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal declared Harris the 'winner' of the debate.
Ajay Bhutoria, a national finance committee member of the Biden campaign, said he was excited to watch the first-ever Indian-American vice presidential candidate, Harris, at the debate.
A large number of Indian-Americans had organised virtual watch parties to celebrate the historic occasion.
If elected in the November 3 presidential election, Harris would be the first-ever woman to occupy the second highest political post in the country.
“Kamala Harris has the talent and charisma to lead our great nation as our next vice president. She has been a leader in the fight for racial, economic and environmental justice and fighting for the middle class. She will be an incredible vice president and I know Americans saw that on full display during tonight's debate,” Bhutoria said.
California Co-State Director for South Asians for Biden, Harini Krishnan said he was 'thrilled' that Harris 'acknowledged the historic nature of her candidacy and spoke about her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, when introducing herself to America'.
During the vice-presidential debate, Harris said, 'I thought about my mother who came to the United States at the age of 19, gave birth to me at the age of 25 at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California and the thought that I'd be sitting here right now, I know would make her proud. She must be looking down on this.” Her Chennai-born mother Shyamala Gopalan was a biomedical scientist. She succumbed to cancer in 2009.
Harris, however, did not did not specifically refer to her Indian heritage during the 90-minute debate.
Her father Donald J Harris is a Jamaican-American. He is an economist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. Harris' parents split when she was five-year-old.
Applauding Harris for “her masterful performance” at the debate, Neha Dewan, national director of South Asians for Biden, said the California Senator provided a devastating rundown of the Trump-Pence administration's ineptitude in handling the coronavirus; the economy, including trade wars; and issues relating to foreign policy.
Harris exuded confidence, while Pence appeared evasive throughout the entire night, said South Asians for Biden communications co-chair Deepa Sharma.
Praveen Meyyan, who serves as a Virginia co-State director for South Asians for Biden, said Harris spoke directly to the American people about what is at stake in this election: health, safety, economy, environment, and healthcare.
“Vice President Pence had nothing to offer about why he and Donald Trump deserve another four years,' he added.
However, not all Indian-Americans were impressed with Harris' performance. “It seemed Senator Harris was carrying the water for the Chinese and Iranians. She was unable to defend her record on prosecuting African-Americans and packing the Supreme Court,” said Puneet Ahluwalia, who is running for the position of Virginia Lt Governor.
“Pence was a clear winner of the debate in highlighting the American exceptionalism growing exponentially under President Trump’s leadership,” the Republican Party leader said. PTI LKJ SCY AKJ SCY