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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:10 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 4:03 AM (IST)

Indian-Tibetan wins democratic primary

Indian-Tibetan wins democratic primary
Aftab Karma Singh Pureval

Washington, May 16

Aftab Karma Singh Pureval, an American of Indian-Tibetan descent, has won the Democratic primary for the first congressional district of Ohio but faces a Himalayan task of defeating a 11-time Republican Congressman.

But for the 35-year-old, the first Democrat to get elected as the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in more than 100 years, says climbing the Himalayas is in his DNA. Congressman Steve Chabot has represented the seat since 1995 from the Republican bastion. 

“I am the first Tibetan-American to run for Congress,” Pureval said. “My story is improbably American. I am the son of a refugee. My mother was born in Tibet and she was forced to flee her home country along with my grandparents.” His grandparents and his mother made their way through the Himalayas to Nepal and entered India where she grew up as a refugee. 

His mother studied in a school in Mysore and later went to Delhi for college education where she met his Punjabi father. “My (paternal) grandfather was in the Indian Army (Brig Ajit Singh),” he said, adding that after marriage, his parents moved to the US and settled in Ohio, where he was born in 1982. 

Pureval said it came as a surprise to him after he won unopposed the primary last week when told he was the first Tibetan American to run for Congress.  “They (Tibetan community) are very excited. I am connected with a lot of the community in all parts of the country through the social media. They are thrilled to see  a Tibetan-American run for the US Congress. It is driving a lot of energy and they have been incredibly supporting of my efforts,” Pureval said. — PTI 


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