As the United States of America gears up for polls today, special prayers were held for the victory of Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris at a temple in her maternal grandfather’s ancestral village in Tamil Nadu.
Ms Harris had earlier shared the huge influence her grandfather PV Gopalan – a civil servant who served in India and abroad – had on her when she was a child.
With hours to go before polling starts in the USA, residents of the village – 390 km south of state capital Chennai – were seen lining up to worship at the local temple to see the 55-year-old become the Vice-President.
Explaining the village’s connect with the family, Ms Harris’ aunt Dr Sarala Gopalan told NDTV, “The Thulasendrapuram temple God is my father’s family deity. Whenever there is a marriage in the family or a special occasion, we visit the temple.”
I am aware of the special prayers, said Dr Gopalan, whom Ms Harris had famously referred to as “Chithi” in her acceptance speech. “I try to go to the temple every year and pray for everyone in our family. This year, I could not go because of COVID,” she added.
The temple’s inscription also has Kamala Harris’ name engraved besides those of many other donors, acknowledging her contribution of Rs5,000 in 2014.
“We are happy and proud of her accomplishments. Kamala, who has her roots in this village, is in the race to become the Vice President of the United States,” Ramanan, the temple administrator, said.
Earlier, the villagers had also put up posters with Ms Harris’ pictures, wishing her success.
Born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Ms Harris positions herself as a coloured American striking a chord with both the African-American and Indian-American voters.
She had earlier shared her love for idli, “a really good sambar” and “any kind of tikka”.
Though Ms Harris was in the race to be the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, two-time Vice President Joe Biden secured the nomination and chose Kamala as his running mate.
Poll predictions in the US put Biden-Harris team in the lead against President Trump who is vying for a second term. COVID, healthcare and racial tensions are among the major poll issues in the US this time.