Indian American filmmaker Mira Nair’s son set to enter NY assembly

Zohran Mamdani
Zohran Mamdani; photo credit:

Win in Democratic primary guarantees hip-hop artist Zohran Mamdani seat in November.

Indian American filmmaker Mira Nair’s son, Zohran Mamdani, is all set to enter New York State Assembly with the sitting Democratic member Aravella Simotas conceding in a close primary contest.

Mamdani, 28, a first-time candidate for elected office and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won the Democratic primary in Astoria, Queens by just over 300 votes, according to an internal tally by his campaign, reported.

The NYC Board of Elections has finished counting all votes, including absentee ballots, but has not officially called the race, Mamdani said in a tweet.

“Based on our internal tally, we finished ahead by over 300 votes — more than enough to avoid a recount & ensure our victory. Socialism won.”

READ: Record number of Indian Americans elected to statehouses across the country (November 7, 2018)

Mamdani’s primary win all but guarantees him a seat in the state legislature, since no one is registered to run against the Democratic nominee in the November general election.

“I congratulate @ZohranKMamdani for his win and a well-run election. I wish you the best as you begin your legislative career and fight for the 36th AD,” Simotas tweeted.

“I’m honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by the voters of Astoria,” Mamdani was quoted as saying in a statement.

“But the movement you helped us build can’t end here. It has to last beyond any one election or any one candidate. We have to build something that will endure for years to come, to fight for a New York for the many, not the few.”

Born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, Mamdani moved to New York City when he was seven.  Under the name Mr. Cardamom, Mamdani has released numerous hip-hop songs, most notably “Nani” (2019), starring Madhur Jaffrey, the actor and cookbook author.

His father is Mumbai-born Columbia University professor Mahood Mamdani.

An element of his “Roti and Roses” campaign is affordable housing because, he said, “landlords and corporations have too much power, and tenants and workers don’t have enough.”

Mamdani will join another Indian American newcomer Jenifer Rajkumar, who has declared victory over sitting Assembly member Mike Miller in Woodhaven, a heavily Democratic district.

Like Mamdani, Rajkumar too announced her victory having achieved “the near impossible by winning with a margin of 27 percentage points during a global pandemic.”

Born and raised in New York, the daughter of immigrants from India, Rajkumar, 37, is a lawyer and a professor at the City University of New York and served as the state director of immigration affairs.

Mamdani and Rajkumar would become the first persons with South Asian heritage to be elected to the New York State Assembly.  Democrat Kevin Thomas, who was elected to the state senate in 2018, is the first Indian American to serve in the state legislature.


Meet the candidate: Indian American Jeremy Cooney, NY 56th Senate District (May 27, 2018)

(This post has been updated.)

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