Washington: Tulsi Gabbard, who appears all set to become the first Hindu to be elected to the US House of Representatives, has said her faith would be an asset in the Congress as it would help enhance mutual understanding between America and India. "It is clear that there needs to be a closer working relationship between the United States and India. How can we have a close relationship if decision-makers in Washington know very little, if anything, about the religious beliefs, values, and practices of India's 800 million Hindus?" Gabbard asked.
"Hopefully the presence in Congress of an American who happens to be Hindu will increase America's understanding of India as well as India's understanding of America," Gabbard, 31, was quoted as saying 'Religion News Service' news agency. While Gabbard has welcomed Indian-American support, her campaign noted that their contributions account for less than 3 per cent of the total it has raised.
Still, her potential election has electrified the Hindu American community, which is estimated to be from 600,000 to 2.3 million, most of them Indian-Americans. Gabbard, was born in American Samoa to a Catholic father and a Hindu mother, fully embraced Hinduism as a teenager. Gabbard was elected to the Hawaii state legislature in 2002, when she was only 21.