Joe Biden and Kamala Harris attend an event. File photo
Gulf Today Report
The new American President-elect, Joe Biden, and his team apparently have a visible India link. According to a report, when Joe Biden was in India's financial capital in 2013, he had told an audience that his distant relatives live in Mumbai.
He reiterated his claim two years later at an event in Washington, saying there are five Bidens living in Mumbai.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman in American history to be the country’s Vice President, is of Indian origin: her mother is from the state of Tamil Nadu.
Now, news has emerged that the family of his key adviser on the coronavirus crisis, Vivek Murthy, hails from Hallagere, a nondescript village in Karnataka's Mandya district, much to the delight of residents there.
"Vivek Murthy's family, including his father H.N. Lakshminarasimha Murthy and mother Myetraie belong to Hallagere. Vivek's parents migrated to Britain and subsequently to the US, where his father is also a medical doctor at Miami in Florida state," a Mandya district official said.
Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman in American history to be the country’s VP, is of Indian origin.
Mandya is about 100km southwest of the capital Bengaluru, en route to Mysuru in the southern state.
The news of Biden's election was greeted with joy at Hallagere as prospects of Murthy, 43, re-joining the US government brightened.
He was the 19th US surgeon-general in the Barack Obama administration.
"As Vice-President, Biden administered the oath of office to Vivek on December 15, 2014. He resigned on April 21, 2017 after Donald Trump took over as President in January 2016," the official recalled.
With the rank of Vice Admiral, Murthy was the highest ranking official of Indian origin in Obama's second term and played an active role in formulating and implementing the Obamacare Affordable Care Act.
With the COVID-19 pandemic devastating the US, infecting over 97 lakh people and claiming 2,36,155 lives till November 4, Murthy is poised to play a key role in Biden's administration as his key adviser.
According to local media reports, Vivek's grandfather H.T. Narayana Shetty was a director in Mysore Sugar Company in Mandya.
Vivek was, however, born at Huddersfield town in Britain's West Yorkshire where his father was working after he migrated from Mysuru decades ago.
"The Murthys donated computers to state-run schools at Hallagere and conducted health camps during their visits to the village through the family's Society of Children of Planet Earth Foundation.
In his victory speech at Wilmington in Delaware on Saturday night, Biden said: "On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021.”
During Biden's presidential campaign period, Murthy emerged as one of his top advisers on public health and coronavirus issues.In May, Murthy was appointed as co-chair to the Healthcare Task Force along with Indian-origin Pramila Jayapal, who also won in Wednesday's election to the House of Representatives as a Democrat Senator from Washington's 7th Congressional district for a third term, defeating Republican Craig Keller.
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