NJ governor kicks off Telugu convention

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New York, Jul 4 (UNI) A major three-day conference, sponsored by the American Telugu Association (ATA) in neighboring New Jersey, was kicked off by Governor Jon S Corzine.

Thousands cheered the governor as he congratulated Indian-Americans in his brief speech yesterday, particularly those gathered Telugus, for their achievements and contributions to his state.

Kris Kolluri, the transport commissioner in New Jersey, held the position of governor for a day. Mr Kolluri a native of Andhra Pradesh, immigrated to the US at a young age.

Upendra Chivukula, another Andhra Pradesh native, is the first first-generation Indian-American to become a member of a US state legislature. Mr Chivukula is currently a member of the New Jersey state assembly.

In an earlier message, the governor praised the umbrella Telugu organisation for trying to advance the heritage and culture of the Telugus.

''New Jersey is unique in its rich ethnic diversity and the Indian-American community is a vital part of the cultural and economic fabric of the Garden State,'' he said in the meeting, which also coincided with a banquet.

A number of awards were presented on the occasion to the people who excelled in various services for the community in the US and back home in India, particularly Andhra Pradesh.

Cultural dances, mimicry and a music program formed part of the inauguration.

The July 3-5 convention is formally titled as the Tenth ATA Conference and Youth Convention. The first such convention was held in the New York metropolitan area.

Yesterday was a working day and many were seen registered at the last minute.

UNI XC PD RAI1334

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