New York, Nov 6 (IANS) Ahead of the November 8 mid-term elections in the US, Indian-American candidate and businessman Vibhuti Jha has apologised for his anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh tweets, saying he wants to "bring people together and celebrate diversity.
Jha, who has deleted the tweets, is a Republican candidate for New York State Assembly District 16, and is running against Democrat Gina Sillitti.
"I deleted a tweet that appeared several months ago forwarded by someone to me! I believe some of the Muslim groups were unhappy about the content & comparison made therein. I u/s the joke didn't go down well. I confirm the intent was never to hurt anyone," Jha, from Port Washington, wrote on his twitter handle.
Jha, 70, is currently a turnaround strategy specialist for the Human Potential Project -- a Seattle-based organisation that helps companies in the US build a performance-based culture in the workplace.
"I want to add I have very good Muslim friends -- we share mutual respect for each other and share jokes and laughter in these difficult times. Friendship is all about sharing joy, anger and move the life forward (sic). We have to face our challenges together," he tweeted.
"My goals and priorities in life are focused on bringing people together and celebrating diversity," Jha told Newsday, adding that he is "deeply sorry" for his tweets.
Jha came to the US in 1991 with the American Express Bank, to build and develop Indo-US business relationships.
In his election pitch, Jha says that he is focused on preserving the American Dream for families who call Long Island home. He talks about the need to restore policies that made America the most prosperous country in the world where people aspire to migrate to at any given point in time.
In a December 28, 2020, post, Jha had said: "The "asylum" racket for US immigration by Sikhs is real � it must be exposed. Those fake asylum seeks are "required to" stand and protest ANY thing against India!"
On February 16 this year, Jha posted: "Islam might consider fighting its own definition of who they are! That will help the rest of humanity!!"
The 16th Assembly District covers the North Shore communities of Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Lake Success, Herricks and parts of New Hyde Park, Roslyn, East Hills and Old Westbury.
Nassau GOP spokesman Mike Deery slammed the hate-fuelled language and said in a statement that they stand united with the Muslim and Sikh communities.
Jha has an undergraduate degree in Economics and a minor in Politics and Psychology from Fergusson College in Pune. He has his Masters in Economics from University of Pune, followed by PhD from Bhagalpur University.