By IndiaWestJournal team

WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – Niraj Antani, a Republican running for US Congress, is aggressively projecting his Hindu faith. Bhavini Patel, a Democrat running for Congress, is battling allegations of courting Hindu nationalist donors. And Indian-descent donors are pressing the Biden-Harris campaign for a “Hindu page” in its 2024 campaign manifesto.

The “Hindu Vote” appears to have become a factor.

There is no rock-solid count of Hindus in the US because the US Census does not record religious affiliation in its surveys. But there are several estimates.

Pew Research Center said 0.7 percent of Americans were Hindu in 2015 and that their number is projected to grow to 4.8 million by 2050. Harvard Divinity School estimated their number to be 2.5 million in 2018. And some Hindu Americans put the number generously at 5 million, which, they concede, includes Sikhs and Jains.

As crucial as their number is in US politics, so is their ability to write big donation checks.

Niraj Antani, an Ohio state lawmaker who is running in the Republican primary for a congressional seat, has frequently described himself as Hindu and posted this message on X, to mark the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya: “As the 1st Hindu American State Senator in Ohio history, today it was my privilege to do Darshan to Lord Ram at @BAPS Cincinnati Mandir to mark the opening of his Mandir in Ayodhya. As we celebrate this occasion, let us stand for religious freedom around the world. Jai Shri Ram!”

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