Virginia, Nov 5 : South Asian origin students in the United States today expressed their happiness over the historic victory of Democrat Barack Obama, who defeated his Republican rival John McCain to become the 44th US President elect.
Obama won at least 338 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 needed. With results in from more than two-thirds of US precincts, he led McCain by 51 percent to 48 percent in the popular vote.
Approximately 2.7 million South Asians live in the United States, which comprises individuals with ancestry from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives
Speaking to ANI exclusively, Neha Shah, a student of Indian origin in the US, said the Asia at present requires Obama's strong foreign and economic policies.
"I believe that he is exactly what the Asian community needs right now. His strong foreign and economic policy is going to be great for our country," said Shah after Obama's victory.
A Student of Pakistani origin living in Ohio said that all south Asians in America must have voted for Obama.
"I voted for Obama and I think all south Asians in America should vote for Obama because of his foreign policy, and especially because of his experience of working with Pakistan and India," Sana Ahmed told ANI.
Rehan Hussain, another student of Pakistani origin in the US said: "Along with the rest of the population, South Asians also want to see some change and are concerned about economy. But typically I guess on social issues at least McCain is the big supporter of the war, and being South Asian I don't want to see him invading Iraq any further."
"I feel that what US is doing in Iraq is really in the wrong direction. We might as well change the direction and that's what Obama wants to do. So that's why I support that him," Hussain added. A student of Bangladeshi origin said that she voted for Obama because he represents the younger generation.
"As a South Asian I voted for Obama for several reasons. I feel that he represents the younger generation. I connect with him because of his ethnic background; I think he is a new face in the world of politics. He will better the image of US in the world. So I think it will be a great voice for change," Aamna Zaman told ANI.
South Asian American volunteers played an active and important role in canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts that led to Obama's decisive and historic victory.
For the past 21 months, South Asians for Obama (SAFO) spearheaded a movement to rally the South Asian American community behind Obama.
SAFO's efforts to organize this increasingly politically active constituency not only helped secure groundbreaking victory for Obama, but also engaged a new generation of South Asians in the political process.
SAFO's organization consisted of thousands of volunteers located in in the key battleground states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, which were critical to Obama's victory.
A survey conducted just before the polls showed that 41 percent Asian-American voters supported Barack Obama, 24 percent McCain, where as 34 percent remained un decided.
South Asian political involvement in the US has been on the rise over the past decade, and the run-up to the November 4 presidential elections showed that South Asians - the third largest Asian American ethnic group - have been actively engaged in the presidential campaigns, voter mobilization efforts, and bids for state and national office. By Smita Prakash