Vanila Singh distances herself from Shalabh Kumar, but endorses State Dept.’s rejection of visa to Narendra Modi

Refutes any ties with Kumar in her Congressional campaign.

By Deepak Chitnis

Dr. Vanila Mathur Singh (courtesy of Stanford University's School of Medicine).
Dr. Vanila Mathur Singh (courtesy of Stanford University’s School of Medicine).

WASHINGTON, DC: California Congressional candidate Vanila Mathur Singh is attempting to distance herself from controversial Republican donor Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar in light of recent reports that her campaign is being used as a front for Kumar to further his own political agenda, which includes obtaining a visa for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

In a statement released by Singh to The American Bazaar, the Republican candidate severely downplayed the amount of interaction she and Kumar have allegedly had over the past year, saying: “For the record, I have not received any financial or other aid or benefit from Mr. Kumar or any organization he is part of, nor have I sought any such support and he is not involved in any way with my campaign in any official or unofficial capacity.”

Clarifying the claim that it was Kumar who encouraged – some may say recruited – Singh to run for Congress, Singh said, “I first met Mr. Kumar in Washington DC in November 2013 as a result of an outreach program associated with the Indian American Advisory Council (IAAC) which coincided with a personal trip. I subsequently met with Congressional leaders while attending a national physician’s policy roundtable on the same trip. It was through these interactions with the Congressional and physician leaders that I considered my congressional run.”

Additionally, Singh contends that she does, in fact, “respect” the State Department’s repeated denials of a visa for Modi, who is the BJP’s candidate for Prime Minister in India’s upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The controversial public figure has been slammed by human rights groups in the US for his alleged involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which left thousands of religious minorities dead.

“With respect to the Narendra Modi issue, I respect the decisions made by the US State Department and believe they should continue to determine what is in the best interest of the United States with regard to the promotion of Human Rights around the world, without prejudice or bias from special interest groups,” said Singh.

Singh, who is a Republican candidate going up against Democrat incumbent Mike Honda and Democrat challenger (and fellow Indian American) Ro Khanna for California’s 17th Congressional seat, re-iterated that her campaign was focused first and foremost on job creation and healthcare reform.

“I have only met Mr. Kumar one time after our initial interaction where it was clear his vision and pro-India agenda was important to him, while my focus remains on the issues affecting our great nation and the constituents of the 17th District,” said Singh.

Singh officially filed the papers for her candidacy on December 26 of last year, entering a tight race in northern California in a constituency with a large percentage of Asian and Indian Americans. Her parents are co-founders of the Rajasthan Association of North America, while Singh herself also has ties to the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and is supported by the super-Political Action Committee (PAC) Indian Americans for Freedom.

A staunch advocate for healthcare reform and critic of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Singh earned her medical degree from the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, DC, completed her fellowship and residency at Cornell University, did her medical internship at Yale University, and was a clinical assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for some time as well.

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