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Bobby Jindal

The Smart Politician - 42 years | Baton Rouge

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Bobby Jindal
Getty Images (From Outlook 17 June 2013)
Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal’s recent trips outside his home state have ignited speculation that the Indian-American governor of Louisiana has his sights set firmly on a run for the White House in 2016. He headlined a fundraiser last month for the Republican senate majo­rity committee in Manchester, New Hamp­shire—a litmus test for presidential candidates. “As we decide the candidate we support...I’d hope we would rally around those candidates and those leaders who stand for what is right, not just what is popular,” he told the audience. Jindal has sought to portray himself as that voice of reason in a Republican party in disarray following the defeat of Mitt Romney in the presidential elections.

Fred Aldrich, Jindal’s former teacher, told Esquire magazine in 2009, “(Jindal) always had his eye on, first of all, where he wanted to go, and second, how he was going to get there.” Those are words Jindal appears to live by. Piyush Jindal was born on June 10, 1971, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to immigrants from Punjab. By the time he turned four, he started calling himself Bobby after a character in The Brady Bunch, a popular TV series.

Governor of Louisiana, Jindal is a Republican party star, and might be its presidential nominee for the 2016 elections.

Bobby’s father, Amar, pushed him to excel in academics. In high school, Jindal began dating a girl named Kathy, with whom he attended his first Roman Catholic mass. “I was probably the first teenager who ever told his parents he was going to a party so that he could sneak off to church,” he later wrote in one of a series of essays on his religious awakening, published in New Oxford Review, a Catholic magazine. Bobby studied at Brown Uni­versity, where he converted from Hinduism to Roman Catholicism. Jindal and his wife, Supriya, have three young children: Selia, Shaan and Slade.

After school he toyed with the idea of studying medicine and law, but eventually opted for a career in politics. A Rhodes scholar, he received a master’s in political science from New College at the University of Oxford. At 24, he was appointed secretary of Louisiana’s department of health and hospitals. At 28, he became the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana system. And in March of 2001, when Jindal was 29, President George W. Bush nominated him to serve as assistant secretary in the department of health and human services in Washington. Following a failed bid for the office of the governor of Louisiana in 2003, Jindal ran for and won a seat in the US House of Repre­sentatives. He eventually won the election for governor of Louisiana, a post in which he has served since 2008.

While Jindal has spent much of his career in Louisiana, his ambitions are far bigger. In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain considered Jindal as his running mate. Last year, Time magazine listed Jindal himself as a potential Republican party presidential candidate in 2016.

Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington

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