Aruna Miller makes history as first South Asian woman elected lieutenant governor in U.S.

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Aruna Miller on Tuesday scripted history by becoming the first Indian-American politician to win the race of Lieutenant Governor in the state of Maryland, adjoining the US capital.

Miller, 58, a former delegate to the Maryland House, was on the Lieutenant Governor ticket along with Wes Moore — the Democratic Governor elect.

The Lieutenant Governor is the state’s highest official following the Governor and assumes the role when the Governor is out of state or incapacitated.

Soon after the polling closed on Tuesday evening, Moore and Miller were declared elected against their Republican challengers.

Miller, who emigrated from India in 1972 at age 7 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000, is also the first immigrant to win the lieutenant governor’s office and the first Asian American elected statewide in Maryland, according to The Associated Press.

“Ever since I came to this country in 1972, I’ve never stopped being excited for the promise of America. I will never stop fighting to make sure that promise is available to everyone,” she tweeted after the victory.

Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had campaigned in favour of Moore and Miller.

In winning the Lieutenant Governor race in Maryland, Miller overcame a last-minute stiff opposition from her distracters who accused her of courting Hindu nationalists, a charge she denied.

In fact, her popularity among Indian-Americans in Maryland is bipartisan. Some of the top Trump and Republican supporters came out in support of her and raised funds. Prominent among them include Jasdip Singh Jassee. 

Amongst other, Democrats Shri Thanedar and Pramila Jayapal won elections to the House of Representatives. An entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Thanedar, 67, who was born in Belgaum, Karnataka, beat a Republican rival in Detroit, Michigan.

Thanedar, who is now a Michigan state legislator, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic party nomination for Governor in 2018. He came to the US in 1979 and got his PhD in chemistry and an MBA.

Meanwhile, Jayapal, 57, who was first elected in 2016 from Washington state, is the senior whip of the Democratic Party in the House and the chair of the influential leftist Congressional Progressive Caucus.

She has been a strong critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on human rights issues.