Trump's 'Hindu' Moment: For US Presidential Hopeful, An Unusual Campaign Pit-Stop

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On the website of a group called the Hindu Republican Coalition, a video message from Donald Trump: "Hello everyone, it is my pleasure to invite you to the Republican Hindu Coalition rally at the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey."

With just days left to go before a closely fought, controversial election comes to a close, it's an unusual campaign stop for the Republican hopeful. America's Indian diaspora - an estimated 3.5 million - traditionally have leaned towards Democrats.

But Shalabh Kumar, the event organiser told NDTV, "we have gotten him interested in Hindu American community, also in India, because he has got investments in India."

When asked why only Indian Hindu's, Mr Kumar, a Chicago-based businessman and a staunch Republican said that Trump shared Hindu values such as "family values and fiscal discipline." (The interview with Mr Kumar was recorded in New Delhi, before the latest controversy broke over Donald Trump's supposedly lewd comments on women. On the phone from New York, Mr Kumar said despite the storm triggered by the comments, he still supports Mr Trump, describing the comments as 'locker room banter'.)

Mr Kumar denied the perception the event could be perceived as Islamophobic.

"Trump is not really as perceived, totally anti-Muslim. He is for profiling. So that is that they (Muslims) should be profiled, and particularly not when coming from India because we haven't seen India to be a breeding ground to terrorists," he said.

An additional incentive to ensure the Republican nominee's presence could be a sizeable donation from Mr Kumar's group to the Trump campaign.  

"We have so far done about 1.5 million dollars" (for Trump), Mr Kumar told NDTV.

According to the flyer for the event, Trump will have as company a smattering of film stars - Prabhu Deva, the Andhra actor Ram Charan, Sophie Choudry and Shriya Saran.

Whether the Trump rally will help tilt the Indian diaspora's vote in his favour remains unclear, but Prabhu Deva and Donald Trump at the same event should at the very least be a good show.
 


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