In what is likely to be an effort to woo Indian Americans before the upcoming elections, Former Vice President of US and 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden has roped in Amit Jani, Indian-origin administrator, to be part of his election campaign.
Jani, who currently works at New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's office, will be heading the Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) outreach, Indian-American news agency News India Times.
This will not be the first election campaign that Jani is a part of. Apart from working in Murphy's administration, Jani was formerly the Director of the AAPI Outreach in the successful 'Murphy for Governor' (New Jersey Democratic State Committee) campaign. He was also a former of US Senator Bob Menendez. Jani has also worked as a Congressional Aide for Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and Congresswoman Judy Chu. He is also a APAICS Legislative Fellow alum while serving in Chu's office in 2014.
But the South Asians For America (SAFA) co-chairperson is not just a dry man of administration. He is a school board member at the Hudson County Schools of Technology in New Jersey. His popularity in the region is also strengthened by his active participation in social work such as serving as the President of the New Jersey Leadership Program, a non-profit outfit that works toward increasing the South Asian participation and its impact on government and politics in the US by engaging the youth. Jani is also a board member of organisations such as the New Leaders Council and Act to Change.
Congressional Aide to Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Congresswoman Judy Chu and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Jani also participates in cultural events organised by the Indian-American community in and around New Jersey and lends his support to their causes. In August, he was invited as a Speaker to the 18th-anniversary celebrations of the Shree Swaminarayan temple in Secaucus, a town in Hudson county.
Upon becoming the director of Biden's AAPI outreach, Jani said, “It’s an honor to join a candidate in Vice President Joe Biden, with whom the Asian American Pacific Islander community can trust to represent and reflect the community’s values and principles."
In a previous interview, Jani had said he liked Biden because the latter was more centrist. Jani felt that he was more in line with the centrist-leaning South Asian community, a minority in the US.
Jani is not the only minority appointed as Biden's campaign staff. According to a report in Axios, all six new senior staff members that were inducted into the campaign are women and/or belonging to a minority community.
The Indian community was full of cheer at the announcement. SAFA co-chairperson Neha Dewan said that it is encouraging to see campaigns like Biden's giving the AAPI community in the US higher priority. “We are proud that Amit Jani will be representing the community at this level and know he will do a tremendous job at making sure the community is visible and its input is considered at the grassroots level nationally," Dewan said.
A Twitter user pointed out that Jani had on several occasions displayed his support for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its decisions regarding controversial issues such as abrogation of Article 370.
So, @JoeBiden hired an Indian American for "a top spot" in his presidential campaign.
Amit Jani from New Jersey is a BJP and Modi supporter.
— Azad Essa (@azadessa) September 12, 2019
He also pointed out that Jani was the son of the late Suresh Jani, one of the founders of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) in the United States.
Jani has, on several occasions, put up photographs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Facebook account.
According to a recent survey, Indian-Americans are likely to support Biden for the upcoming Democratic Primaries. As per a report in PTI, most voters of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, irrespective of the candidate they supported, perceived Biden as having the best chance of beating President Donald Trump, the report found.