The Asian American Republic Alliance was formally launched Sept. 30, 2020, with an inaugural dinner featuring Rik Mehta, candidate for the U.S. Senate challenging incumbent Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat.
Close to 125 supporters attended the event held at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey, and all Covid related protocols were followed including social distancing, masks, limited seating at tables, and sanitizers, Sridhar Chillara, founder and chairman of AARA told News India Times.
“That was a wonderful meeting,” Candidate Rik Mehta told News India Times in an interview after the event. “The AARA is not an organization (just) for show. They have come through behind me and fundraised. They are building a wonderful organization,” said Mehta who won the GOP primary July 7, who is “a biotech entrepreneur, innovator, [and] healthcare policy expert,” and an attorney and pharmacist, according to his election website.
Among the guests attending were New Jersey Republican Party Chair Doug Steinhardt, N.J. State Senator Sam Thompson, Middlesex County Republican Organization Chair Lucille Panos, candidate for N.J.’s 6th Congressional District, Christian Onuoha, Sayreville GOP Chair Arthur J. Rittenhouse Jr. and others.
The speakers included Mehta, Steinhardt, Panos, Dr. Vishal Dhaduk who came in specially for the inaugural from Scranton PA, Padmashri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman and CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and Chillara.
Mehta told News India Times his campaign was going very well. “A lot of voters are tired of Governor Phil Murphy. And Cory Booker is nowhere to be found. They want their issues addressed.” He said he has received “tremendous” support from ethnic groups such as Indians, Hispanics, Egyptians, Greeks, Turkish people, etc. According to Mehta, people mistake New Jersey for a ‘Blue state’. “But there are 3 million Independent registered voters, swing voters, many of whom are voting for the President.” Also, he said, “The Democrats may have out-raised us, but they have not out-performed us.”
At the Sept. 30 dinner, AARA Founder and Chairman Chillara emphasized the importance of being involved in the political process for Asian Americans especially since the Republican Party “has actually been more receptive of Asian Americans such as Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal and now Rik Mehta in New Jersey,” the press release said. He said the numbers can make a difference in a state like New Jersey towards tilting it away from being a solid Blue state, and invited Asian Americans to stop shying away from the political process and register to vote and to join the Republican Party “which closely aligns towards the traditional conservative values of many Asian Americans.”
Steinhardt assured his support to all Republican candidates up and down the ballot with special emphasis on the Congressional seats they hope to flip this year in New Jersey.
Panos talked of how she was once a Democrat and has now walked away since she realized what the Democrat Party “really stood for”, the press release said.
Dr Dhaduk, in his speech, spoke of “how Democrats are encouraging the creation of a welfare state and tearing down traditional American values such as hard work and self-reliance.”
Other speakers included Gautam Patel who rendered Hindi poetry on the “demolition of democracy and liberty by the Democrats.”
National directors of AARA, Praveen Thadkamalla, Pavan Kuchana, Krishna Vemuri, Piyush Patel and Hari Eppanapally were also present. New Jersey state Directors Dharmesh Patel, Atul Vadodaria, Nimish Patel, Bharat Rana, Saurabh Gupta, Samir Raval, Media Committee chair & Arun Kumar- Political Committee chair also attended.
Jesal Amin and Brajesh Singh who are respectively campaigning to be mayors in East Brunswick and Piscataway made their campaign pitches.
New Jersey AARA State President and Somerset County GOP 2nd Vice-Chair Ravi Kolla spoke about supporting all Republican candidates and filling party affiliation forms and voter registration forms and thanked all the supporters of the event. Finally a vote of thanks was given by AARA New Jersey State Director and Middlesex Country Chair Dharmesh Patel.