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Trump card: son of socialist

Indian psephologist to read Asian American pulse

By Ananya Sengupta
  • Published 17.09.16
Donald Trump, Amrish Tyagi

New Delhi, Sept. 16: The Janata Dal United, a party from the socialist stable, has a "secular" alliance in Bihar that defeated the "communal" BJP.

Donald Trump, a capitalist and Republican presidential candidate in America, is a darling of the far-Right worldwide and has been criticised for his "divisive" comments against Muslims and Mexicans.

Now the son of a senior Janata Dal United politician will try to help Trump win the Asian American vote in the run-up to the November US election.

It's a professional assignment and has nothing to do with his political beliefs, insists Amrish Kumar Tyagi, son of K.C. Tyagi and a psephologist, who was booked on a plane to the US early Saturday morning.

"My job is to find out the psyche of the Asian community (in America), their demands, expectations and fears, and convey them to Trump's team," Amrish, 38, told The Telegraph over the phone.

"We will also design campaign messages to draw the community in, and create databases for Trump's campaign."

Asked about his socialist father's reaction to his decision, Tyagi Junior broke into a guffaw.

"Well, my father told me, ' Trump ke paas hi reh jao, wapas mat aana (Stay with Trump then, don't come back).' He said, 'Socialist ka beta ab Republican ke liye kaam karega (a socialist's son will now work for a Republican)!' Of course it was all in jest," Amrish said.

"But people who know him know that he is an open-minded, democratic man and has never interfered in my work."

Tyagi, who retired from the Rajya Sabha in July and is now secretary-general of his party, said his son had taken up a professional assignment that had nothing to do with his own political beliefs.

"Politically, I am against Trump. My son has taken up an assignment and is a professional. Such things don't affect my political philosophy," the one-time acolyte of late Prime Minister Charan Singh told this newspaper.

Calls to Trump's campaign office in the US tonight went unanswered.

Amrish owns a psephology and campaign consultancy firm called Ovleno Business Intelligence Private Limited, founded in 2010, which worked for Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal in last year's elections in Bihar and Delhi, respectively.

"Some of Trump's aides had come to India in 2011 and were impressed with how we work here. Later, they approached us for this job and we agreed," Amrish said.

"As professionals, this is a great opportunity for me and my company, and I'm excited. It will be a tough job but as a professional, the challenge is what encourages me to work better."

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the US. When America votes in November, the community will account for more than nine million voters, up 16 per cent from four years ago.

In an opinion poll among 1,000 Asian American voters last month, only 19 per cent expressed a favourable view of Trump while 61 per cent viewed him unfavourably. Trump's rival Hillary Clinton was viewed favourably by 62 per cent and unfavourably by 26 per cent.

"I will work as a consultant for Trump's campaign to deal with the Asian population. While the voting pattern is, of course, different in the US, the psyche of Asians is not. So we will help them there," Amrish said.

He will be staying 10 to 12 days in America on this trip but will follow it up with more visits before election day.

In May this year, Tyagi had drawn a parallel between Trump's campaign and the BJP-Sangh style of propaganda.

"Donald Trump's emergence as a serious presidential candidate seems to be in line with the worldwide political trend in favour of individuals holding extremist views. We have a similar situation in India. It's very unfortunate," Tyagi had said.

For his son, though, it's just a job. "I might not agree with his (Trump's) views but I'm going as a professional to do a job. The job is to help him get the Asian votes, which I will try my best to deliver," Amrish said.