Long-term community activist Bobby Kumar Kalotee is contesting as lieutenant governor of New York state on the newly formed Sapient
Party ticket along with Steven Cohn as governor.
Kalotee, a businessman from Long
Island, is the national chairman of the
party. Cohn is a lawyer in Long Island.
“There are so many people who are frus-
trated with Democrats and Republicans,”
Kalotee explained the reason for a third
party alternative. “And if you look at the
registration alone, there are millions of vot-
ers who are not affiliated with any party
“During the polling,” Kalotee added,
“many voters would mark ‘none of the
above,’ to show their unhappiness. We,
Sapient, which means wisdom, want to
represent their voice. Sapient’s goals and
agenda are simple and straight, to create
jobs and education with better and clean
environment. Many new immigrants from
all over the world are now eligible to vote,
but they don’t want to belong to either
Immigrant communities, especially
South Asians including Indian Americans,
are supporting the team, he added.
“I am humbled and thankful to the community. Those registered with the mainstream parties too have come forward to
support their own candidate ‘Bobby Kumar
Kalotee,” he said.
Sapient candidates, he said, filed the
nomination with 100,000 signatures collected in four weeks, when only 15,000
“Our chances are as good as any other
candidate in the race. We hope our message reach out to all the voters,” he said.
Kalotee is a major in the New York State
Guard, Division of Military and Naval
Affairs and a General in the United States
Disaster Relief Command. He has received
an honorary doctorate from the New York
Institute of Technology, and been appointed as a special liaison for South Asia by the
President of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Banda.
government of India’s complicity in the massacre
of Sikhs in 1984, following the killing of then
Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh
Other Sikh leaders have asserted that the anti-Bera segment is only a fringe group being put up to
it by the GOP for political expediency, and have said
they intend to host a fundraiser for Dr Bera, whom
they say has been supportive and helpful to the South Asian
American community both in the Bay Area and nationally.
In a race where analysts predict a razor-thin victory margin,
Dr Bera can ill-afford to have even a fraction of a population
whom he expected to be in his corner, now, not only against
him, but actively lobbying other Sikhs to vote against him.
The anti-Bera group, which calls itself American Sikhs for
Truth, is preparing to send thousands of mailers to the Sikh community in California, both in English and Punjabi, exhorting them
not to vote for Dr Bera but instead cast their ballot for Ose.
Among scores of volunteers
deployed to knock on doors of
Sikh households and urge them
to vote against Dr Bera and for
Ose is Harmeet Dhillon,
California Republican Party vice
chair and a Sikh American, who
has also been putting up yard
signs urging a vote for Ose.
Dhillon has been quoted as
saying that the anti-Sikh riots
of 1984 were ‘a huge, horrible
crush to the psyche of the Sikh
community worldwide,’ and
claiming her relatives were forced into hiding.
The controversy involving Dr Bera had come to the fore when
American Sikhs for Truth, in advance of the 30-year anniversary
of the anti-Sikh riots in November, has asked all Congressional
candidates in Northern California — which has a significant
population of Sikhs — if they would acknowledge the government of India’s complicity, and, if elected, if they would pursue
justice for the victims’ families.
Dr Bera was among nine candidates who had not answered
the questions. Thus he was singled out by
American Sikhs for Truth with the GOP
activists led by the likes of Dhillon jumping
into the fray to initiate a campaign against
The Associated Press quoted Inderjit
Kallirai, a Republican state worker, as saying, ‘As an Indian, my goal is to see my people rise up,’ and noting that he had supported Dr Bera in 2010 and 2012.
‘The only thing that divides us now is he
doesn’t want to stand for Sikhs,’ Kallirai
said, and was among the volunteers going
door-to-door campaigning for Ose and
telling fellow Sikhs that they couldn’t
depend on Dr Bera speaking out in support
of their community.
Harkirat Singh, 30, a real estate agent in Elk Grove who
was born in New Delhi a month before the massacre, was
quoted as saying, ‘The Indian government has to take initia-
tive, not a Congressman.’
Dr Bera, Singh said, ‘is the only sitting Indian Congressman,
and we don’t want to lose him.’
Bobbie Singh-Allen, an Elk Grove school board member,
was quoted as saying that even though she was disappointed
Dr Bera didn’t take a stronger stand on the killings of Sikhs in
1984, opposition based on that issue alone loses sight of his
advocacy on other Sikh priorities, ‘such as improving hate
crime monitoring, addressing school bullying and allowing
turbans in the military and in international basketball games.’
The American Sikh Committee to Evaluate Congressional
Candidates, a bipartisan national organization of 18 Sikh
leaders, had polled Congressional candidates with significant
Sikh constituencies on issues of interest to Sikhs.
Dr Bera was being targeted because he would not answer
two specific questions, which were, ‘Do you agree thousands
of Sikhs were murdered in India in November 1984 with the
assistance or lack of intervention by political parties, law
enforcement, military, or members of the government? and
‘Would you as a member of Congress seek to remember and
acknowledge the pogroms against Sikhs in November 1984,
pursue justice for the victims, and work to ensure it does not
Ose had answered both questions in the affirmative.
Dr Bera told the Sacramento Bee, which solicited his reac-
tion to this campaign against him, that ‘This is a tragedy that
should never be repeated… you would expect that the Indian
government has learned from this. But I can’t dictate how
the Indian government approaches it.’
He had also argued, ‘My job is to promote our region as a
global brand, represent Sacramento County in Congress, and
not necessarily dictate to other countries how to run their
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was cruising with an impressive 20-point lead over her nearest rival, Democrat Vincent Sheheen. Latest poll data showed the Indian-American Republican has the support of 51 percent of likely voters, to Sheheen's 31 percent.
‘If Ami Bera loses because the Indian-American community didn’t give him enough money to help him win, our community doesn’t deserve to have a US Congressman in office.’ — Maryland House Majority Leader Kumar Barve,
the longest serving Indian-American legislator.
‘Let us face it. We have only one Indian-American Congressman and he is endangered.’
Bobby Kumar Kalotee, left, with Steven Cohn
Bera’s Battle Bobby Kumar Kalotee runs for New York Lieutenant Governor