Jindal 1st Indian-American Louisiana Governor

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New York, Oct 21: US Conservative Republican congressman Bobby Jindal was today elected Governor of Louisiana, becoming the nation's first Indian-American to hold the State's top post.

The youngest Governor, when he takes office in January, will also be the state's first non-white Governor since a Reconstruction-era figure briefly held the office 130 years ago.

Mr Jindal, the 36-year-old son of Indian immigrants, defeated three main challengers in an open primary by recieving 53 per cent of the votes counted, above the 50 per cent-plus-one threshold needed to avoid a runoff in November.

Amid the cheers and applause from a crowd in his victory party, Mr jindal said, ''Let's give our homeland, the great state of Louisiana, a fresh start.'' ''They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go,'' he said, adding that he would call the Legislature into special session to address ethics reform.

His nearest competitors were Democrat Walter Boasso with 18 per cent of votes, Independent candidate John Georges who got 14 per cent of the votes and Democrat Foster Campbell managed only 13 per cent of the votes. The remaining votes were divided among the eight other candidates.

The Oxford-educated Jindal had lost the Governor's race four years ago to Kathleen Blanco. He won a congressional seat in conservative suburban New Orleans a year later.

The ascendancy of the Brown and Oxford educated Mr Jindal, who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state, The New York Times reported.

Mr Jindal is a familiar figure in Louisiana, having made a strong run for the Governorship in 2003, though losing to Ms Blanco.

Earlier, he had held a series of high-profile administrative jobs, including state health secretary at the age of 24.

According to analysts, his decisive victory today proves that the state has overcome a significant racial hurdle that blocked him in 2003.

He, however, faces significant challenges. The new Governor takes over what is now the nation's poorest, most uneducated and most unhealthy state, by a number of important measures.

Mr Jindal has promised to focus resources on the state's ports, roads and research universities, which have received little state investment.

UNI

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