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Relatives of La. Gov. Candidate Nix Party

November 16, 2003

MALER KOTLA, India (AP) _ No firecrackers, no boxes of sweets, no popping champagne. Disappointed relatives of Indian-American Bobby Jindal called off the party Sunday after their favorite son lost his bid to become governor of Louisiana.

Instead of guests showing up to celebrate, Jindal’s relatives got calls of consolation from friends and family after news came of his loss to Democrat Kathleen Blanco.

``If Piyush had won, we would have celebrated in full style,″ Narinder Jindal, Bobby’s 39-year-old cousin said, using Jindal’s Punjabi name.

``We had invited many of our relatives. There were going to be firecrackers and beating of drums, and we placed a huge order of sweets,″ he said.

Blanco garnered 52 percent of the vote in Saturday’s run-off election, making her Louisiana’s first female governor. Had he won, Jindal would have been the first ethnic Indian elected governor of a U.S. state.

Amar Jindal, Bobby’s father, migrated to the United States 33 years ago from Maler Kotla, in Punjab, to settle in Baton Rouge, La.

Jindal went to school in Baton Rouge, where at age of four he asked his parents to call him Bobby, after the youngest son on the television program ``The Brady Bunch.″

On Sunday, another of Bobby’s cousins, Subhash Jindal, 50, said he had chilled a bottle of champagne and was set to pop it open.

``Everyone was ready to join the party,″ he said.

``We were shocked,″ said Jindal’s aunt, Vijaylakshmi. ``Since we heard the news, we have not even eaten breakfast today.″

Despite the loss, however, family members said they were proud of Bobby.

``In a tough competition, he got a very good number of votes,″ said another cousin, Bhagwant Rai Jindal.

``He lost but he gave a good fight,″ Subhash said. ``Our boy got 48 percent of the votes. It’s not a small thing.″

``It’s discouraging, but he is only 32 years old, with his whole life in front of him,″ said relative Surinder Jindal. ``He will definitely rise again.″

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