Why India is divided about the U.S. presidential election

They may not have a direct stake in the U.S. presidential elections. But the village of Thulasendrapuram in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu says its rooting for the Democratic ticket to win because they look after their own — and they’re even going to temple to make sure that happens.

The village where Kamala Harris’ grandfather PV Gopalan hails from is excited about the idea that one of their own has a shot at the vice presidency of the United States — and they’re sending prayers to make sure it happens. A villager told The New York Times: “She [Kamala Harris] is the daughter of the village’s soil. The position she has attained is unbelievable.”

Reuters describes ceremony which involved pouring milk over a Hindu statue while verses were being chanted. But the support didn’t come without an expectation. One village elder said: “It’s quite obvious that the village people are hoping that once she wins this election she will do us some favors. We are hoping the prayers work.”

Kamala Harris isn't popular across India

But over in India’s capital Delhi, the mood was slightly different. A group that says it has the support of five million Hindus says it’s praying for President Donald Trump to win the day. The founder of the group Hindu Sena (Hindu Army) told Reuters that their support for Trump stems from what they see as his ability to keep India’s neighbors in check. “India can fight terrorism only if Trump is around, and both China and Pakistan will stay restrained as long as he is the president,” Vishnu Gupta, the group’s founder, has said. “We wish Harris well because of her Indian ancestry, but vice presidents are not as powerful.”

A survey conducted in September showed that Indian Americans are strongly attached to the Democratic Party, and that they view U.S.-India relations as “a low priority” for these particular polls. Instead, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which reported on the study, said the demographic was more concerned about healthcare and the economy.

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