Mumbai, Nov 5 (PTI) Shri Thanedar, elected to the House of Representatives in Michigan in the US with 93 per cent votes, believes it is the people's will and not that of the party high command, which matters in poll performance.
'I grew up in Belgaum, in poverty. I know the issues faced by the common man. People in my area once thought how could an 'outsider' like me solve their problems,' he said.
'The US has given me so much. I thought I owe it to this country and so decided to enter politics to serve the people,' the 65-year-old former scientist and businessman of Indian origin told Marathi TV channel ABP Majha.
Thandedar raised USD 4.38 lakh, mostly from his own wealth, in the state House primary against six opponents of his Democratic Party.
He said many people knew him as he was a candidate in the Democratic Party primary for Governor of Michigan in the 2018 election.
'I went from house to house to understand problems faced by the people. The result was that I polled 93 per cent votes, while my Republican Party rival managed just six per cent votes,' Thanedar said.
'The issues I had decided to solve had I been elected Governor, I will now solve them as an aamadar,' Thanedar said in the Marathi interview, equating his new title with the one used to describe a legislator in India.
Thanedar said he came to the US when he was 24, became a scientist and a businessman.
'There is no scope for a high command here . All the power is with the people, who vote in the primaries and select their candidate. You need to enjoy the goodwill of the people and not that of the party high command,' he said.
Thanedar said he will work on improving infrastructure and education facilities in his Detroit city area. 'Here colleges are costly. I want to make them free. Healthcare for senior citizens is another concern,' he said.
On the racial divide in the US, which came into sharp focus after the death of African-American George Floyd in May, Thanedar said, 'The younger generation of both the whites and blacks doesn't believe in such segregation. Racial equality is an important issue in the US today.' Thanedar, who won from the 3rd District of Michigan, said he funded his election and did not accept contributions from corporates or other organisations.
He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at 18 and master's degree from University of Bombay, before migrating to the US in 1979 to pursue higher studies from University of Akron and later University of Michigan. PTI VT VT VT