US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Trump speaks Hindi in ad to get Indian-American votes

Mr Trump using a modified version of Mr Modi's campaign slogan in the new advertisement released on TV channels aimed at Indian-Americans, which comes after Mr Trump assured them that the US and India would be "best friends".
Mr Trump using a modified version of Mr Modi's campaign slogan in the new advertisement released on TV channels aimed at Indian-Americans, which comes after Mr Trump assured them that the US and India would be "best friends".PHOTO: YOUTUBE

He calls for a Trump government, using modified version of PM Modi's slogan

WASHINGTON • The United States' political slugfest is now crossing new frontiers.

Less than two weeks before the presidential election, Mr Donald Trump's campaign has released an ad airing on TV channels aimed at Indian-Americans in which he not only speaks Hindi (albeit roughly), but also adopts the main campaign slogan of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar."

Those were the words Mr Modi used to fuel his landslide victory in May 2014. They mean: "This time, a Modi government."

In the ad, Mr Trump switches Mr Modi's name out for his own.

The ad comes on the heels of Mr Trump's address to the Indian-American community at a convention centre in Edison, New Jersey, on Oct 15.

Featured in the ad are clips from his speech, which he used to assure Indian-Americans that the United States and India would be "best friends".

In the speech, as in the ad, he expressed deep admiration for Mr Modi, who was denied a US visa in 2005 over his alleged support for Hindu extremists during Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002.

Mr Modi has since rebuilt his reputation among US officials and hosted President Barack Obama in New Delhi last year and visited the Oval Office in June for talks.

ADMIRATION FOR MODI

I will look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi, who has been very energetic in reforming India's bureaucracy. Great man! I applaud him for doing so. And I look forward to doing some serious bureaucratic trimming right here in the United States. Believe me, we need it also.

MR DONALD

TRUMP, addressing the Indian-American community on Oct 15.

"I will look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi, who has been very energetic in reforming India's bureaucracy," said Mr Trump at the rally in Edison.

"Great man! I applaud him for doing so. And I look forward to doing some serious bureaucratic trimming right here in the United States. Believe me, we need it also."

Campaign outreach in various languages is not ground-breaking. Mr Trump's Democratic rival, Mrs Hillary Clinton, began running a Spanish-language TV ad last week, and has run radio ads in Florida in Creole for Haitian-American voters. In 1988, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis often sprinkled his speeches with Greek.

This may be the first time Hindi has made the list for a targeted ad. It also seems like a long shot.

Mr Trump severely lags behind his Democratic rival, Mrs Hillary Clinton, in support from Indian-Americans. Only 7 per cent of likely Indian-American voters indicated in a recent survey that they intended to vote for him, as opposed to 70 per cent who said they would vote for Mrs Clinton.

WASHINGTON POST

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Trump speaks Hindi in ad to get Indian-American votes'. Print Edition | Subscribe