Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Wednesday, 3 November 2004

Profile: Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal
Bobby Jindal may become America's most high-profile Indian politician
Bobby Jindal has put behind him a defeat in the contest to become governor of Louisiana last year to become the first Indian-American elected to Congress for nearly 50 years.

Now by winning a House of Representatives seat in the southern state he confirmed his place as a rising star of President Bush's Republican party.

Mr Jindal won 78% of the vote in his district race against Democrat Roy Armstrong on Tuesday.

Mr Jindal's election is the first for an Indian-American since 1956, when Dalip Singh Saund won a Congress seat from California.

Mr Jindal's parents are from the Punjab, in northern India. He was born a Hindu in Louisiana's capital, Baton Rouge, and converted to Christianity in his teens.

What is more, he is only 32 years old - a newcomer to politics, from an ethnic group which is itself relatively new to America.

His supporters argue that he is already the most high-profile Indian politician in the country.


His success, they say, is a sign that America's Indian community - having earned a reputation for economic and educational success - has finally come of political age.

Bobby Jindal believes his political inexperience is an asset.

"I am not a politician, I'm a problem-solver, and Louisiana needs a problem-solver," he said during last year's governorship race.

Indeed, it is as a problem-solver that he made his name.

After a spell at Oxford University and with international consultancy firm, McKinsey, he was hired by Louisiana's governor to fix the state's healthcare problems.

Mr Jindal is credited with slashing the state healthcare system's multi-million dollar budget deficit and steering it towards a surplus.

His management skills attracted Washington's attention - and made President George W Bush give him a top job in the Health and Human Services Department.

However, Mr Jindal was narrowly defeated in the race for governor by Democrat Kathleen Blanco.

One factor was Democrat support among African-Americans, who make up almost a third of Louisiana's population.

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