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Ajay Bhutoria played key role in garnering Indian American votes for Biden-Harris

By The SATimes Team

Ajay Bhutoria, based out of Fremont, CA, is a highly influential Indian American community leader, political activist, author, and tech entrepreneur. For over a decade, he has served as a prominent leader in the Democratic Party’s National Finance Committee. He has served as a national AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) leader on the Biden 2020 campaign, working closely in the Biden National Finance Committee, the AAPI Leadership Council, and the Biden South Asian Foreign Relations Policy Committee.

Ajay had worked closely with President Obama after cutting his activist teeth in the 2008 campaign. (Photos: Bhutoria family)

Ajay was born in Rajasthan, India, and raised in Guwahati, Assam. Growing up, his father taught him to chase his dreams, “no matter how big.” Inspired, Ajay came to the US, like many immigrants, with a single suitcase and a bare bank account, searching for limitless opportunities.

 

Having lived in the Bay Area as an entrepreneur for the past two decades, Ajay successfully reached that dream and has been working hard to make sure it’s available for others as well.

Ajay with Vice President Elect Kamala Harris, who represented California in the US Senate. (Photos: Bhutoria family)

He began his career of activism by getting involved with the 2008 Obama for America Presidential campaign. Elevated to the DNC and its National Finance Committee, he had the opportunity subsequently to work closely with both President Obama and Vice President Biden. Drawing inspiration from President Obama, Bhutoria became closely involved in boosting civic engagement and political participation of the Indian Americans nationally.

 

In 2016, Ajay hosted former President Bill Clinton at his home and was a co host for Hillary Clinton fundraisers over 20 times in various events, which included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, eBay CEO John Donahue, and LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman. Ajay ended up raising a substantial amount and co-led the AAPI leadership council for Hillary for President.

 

Ajay has worked closely with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr.Jill Biden to support their Free Community College Initiative, which has helped numerous young students and immigrants get an affordable education and start their careers. On Day 1 of the Biden campaign, he became a founding member of the Biden 2020 National Finance Committee and National AAPI leadership Council, BFP 2020.

 

In addition to raising funds at the grassroots level for the Biden-Harris campaign, Ajay focused on ensuring that 1.3 million votes of Indian Americans in swing states were delivered for Biden.

 

Ajay helped strengthen and build the AAPI for the Biden Leadership and grassroots team. He brought in various community leaders to join the AAPI faith leadership council to solidify AAPI for Biden. He was elected National Delegate for Biden for California’s 17th district, on the edge of Silicon Valley and home to the largest Indian Americans in the nation.

Ajay coordinated the South Asian media outreach for the campaign. He got published over 100 positive stories in as many news outlets. He spoke extensively as a public figure on prime time Indian news channels about the Biden-Harris campaign and dispelled the myths and lies spread by Trump supporters.

Ajay launched several viral digital outreach campaigns in 14+ Indian languages to attract the Indians across the USA the South Asian media outreach for the campaign: “America Ka Neta Kaisa Ho Jo Biden Jaisa Ho”, “Trump Hatao America Bachao” and “Biden-Harris ko Jitao, America ko aage badao”, “Jaago America Jaago – Biden Harris ko Vote do”.

Besides raising funds at the grassroots level for the Biden-Harris campaign, Ajay focused on ensuring that 1.3 million votes of Indian Americans in swing states were delivered for Biden. This he managed through South Asian media outreach,  producing viral videos with catchy lines in 14 Indian languages, and by allaying the impression that Biden-Harris were anti-India.

Ajay and his wife Vinita Bhutoria released the super-viral popular musical video, “Chale Chalo, Chale Chalo, Biden Harris ko Vote do” (Let’s go vote for Biden Harris). It was a hit with the Indo-American community. This was a first-ever South Asian musical video for a  presidential campaign in America. Ajay said that “people connect with music, food, language, and culture.”

Bhutoria family gifted a small statue of Ganesha to Dr Jill Biden. (Photos: Bhutoria family)

It used to be taken as an axiom that Indian Americans don’t vote in good numbers. Ajay countered, “Have you ever reached out to them in their language? When a campaign volunteer speaks to a voter in their language, they are more likely to listen.”  Ajay designed this campaign with the idea that Indian Americans will feel more connected with Biden when volunteers can reach out to them in their language, “Not necessary all the Indians speak English,” he said. People get connected when someone talks to them in their language.

“There was lots of excitement,” he said, adding that “the vast majority had never experienced such campaign outreach previously.”

“We present the diversity of people in our community, inspired by Vice President Biden’s vision of hope and change,” reads the video’s description. “We come from all ages, places, and professions, but we are united in our passion for a candidate who represents our common values.”

Ajay directed efforts to deliver over 1.3M AAPI/South Asian votes in key battleground states. He coordinated thousands of Phone Banking and Text Banking contacts in the battleground States.

Ajay listened to community concerns around Kashmir, Article 370, and coordinated with the Biden campaign to share those concerns and coordinated to get the India Fact Sheet, Biden Harris Vision for Indian Americans, and India reach the Community.

Fremont, CA based Ajay Bhutoria with President Elect Joe Biden (Photos: Bhutoria family)

He listened to concerns of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Muslim, and Christian Americans of South Asian heritage and directed efforts to unite the community.

He has also worked closely with the leadership on the Biden 2020 campaign to co-organize several national events. During the  Indian Independence Day celebrations this August, he helped organize a widely viewed virtual program and celebration that included prominent Indian Americans across the country. There he introduced VP Biden’s video message and invited senior campaign officials to share VP Biden’s vision for Indian Americans and building stronger India-US relationship.

 

Ajay played an influential role in spreading the message about VP Biden and Senator Kamala Harris being the best friend of India and Indian Americans through his articles, news stories, TV appearances, and community speaking events. His efforts helped strengthen community trust in the Biden-Harris ticket and build trust between India and the US. This he accomplished through various South Asian outreach groups.

 

The pandemic caused thousands of small businesses to shut down. Several thousands of Indian American businesses too were either closed or on the verge of closing. Ajay discussed the situation  with Indian American small business owners to understand their issues and highlighted their plight to Biden campaign’s Small Business Council, and provided a voice to South Asian business owners’ call for a revitalization policy.

 

Ajay has created a strong message in the Indian American community across the nation of civic engagement and political participation. In the recent election cycle, he influenced the community to believe in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Backed by an astute understanding of the community helped him turn out South Asian voters in large numbers to vote for and elect Joe Biden as our President and Kamala Harris as our Vice President.

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