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For years Indian Americans were accused of being content with photo-ops with American politicians. Today, members of the increasingly visible and influential community are announcing their political arrival with more of their youth showing readiness to join the political mainstream.

Two Indian-Americans are among 30 New Jersey youngsters who are seen politicians in the making. They are presently working as staffers or aides to well-known politicians.

Observer newspaper in its 30 Under 30: Political Up-and-Comers in New Jersey named Dinesh Suryawanshi and Amit Jain in its annual list of upcoming politicians.

While Suryawanshi, 28, is aide to US Senator Cory Booker, Jain, 26, is consultant at Vision Media.

The paper said Suryawanshi is well liked within the state’s burgeoning South Asian community and has worked closely with Mo Butler, Booker’s former chief of staff who departed earlier this year to work for Mercury.

Jain on the other hand was a former staffer of pro-India Congressman Frank Pallone and is also heavily involved in the South Asian community.

He serves as Hudson County Director for the South Asian American Caucus within the Democratic State Committee, and State Representative for South Asians for Hillary.

He is also the President and Co-founder of the New Jersey Leadership Program, a nonprofit that aims to inspire NJ’s South Asian youth to get involved in government and politics.

The paper introducing the 30 upcoming politicians said that “in the world of New Jersey politics, young people are often behind-the-scenes players for some of the most well known political figureheads in the state. Sometimes, those young people step out of the shadows and make their own bids for office. Other times, they become influential lobbyists dedicated to a cause.

The Washington Leadership Programme (WLP) - previously the Indian American Center for Political Awareness - devotes itself to sensitising the second and third generation of Indian American youth to the importance of taking interest and getting involved in the American political and legislative process and gives many of them internship placements with key Congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill.

(send comments/feedback to info@theindiandiaspora.com)

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