Six Indian-Americans including Narain Bhatia, Sunny Chandra, Dinesh Patel, Vineeta Kumar, Hema Bhatt and Vikas Kinger have won seats in the highly-contested local elections for representation at Town Meeting in Lexington, Mass., March 7.
As a result, 13 Indian-Americans will now be part of the 200-member Town Meeting of Lexington. Two other Indian-American candidates, Anisha Karody and Neerja Bajaj, ran, but did not win. Karody was hoping to claim a seat as a town meeting member in precinct five, while Bajaj finished fourth in the school committee seat race.
According to the town website, Bhatia and Kumar were both running for seats in precinct three, which had seven three-year termed seats available. Bhatia claimed 250 votes, leading the eight-person race, while Kumar tallied 242 votes, in a three-way tie for third place.
In precinct six, which had seven three-year termed seats and one single-year termed seat available, Patel won the first spot with 376 votes, in a eight-person race.
Kinger finished eighth in a 12-person race in precinct seven, which had seven three-year termed seats and a single two-year termed seat.
Chandra came in sixth in precinct eight in an 11-candidate race, earning one of the seven three-year termed seats.
In precinct nine, Bhatt took the single one-year termed seat by finishing in eighth. His 190 votes were less than 10 from claiming one of the seven three-year termed seats.
Bhatia, a long-time resident of Lexington and considered one of the pioneers of energizing Indian-Americans to run for local elections in Lexington, told India New England News that while it is exciting to have Indian-Americans participate and win in location elections, the momentum must continue. “This is a movement that has to continue in order to succeed,” Bhatia said, adding that this is the third consecutive election cycle where Indian-Americans have done well.
Sanjay Padaki, a Lexington resident who has played an important role in organizing India-Americans in local elections, told India New England News that the March 7 elections were one of the most contested ones in Lexington in recent times. “This was also the first time an Indian-American ran for the town-wide School Committee position and came in a strong third place in a crowded seven person contest,” he said.