CERRITOS, CA – In a tightly fought race, Naresh Solanki was elected to the Cerritos City Council by a slim margin of 27 votes. Solanki was running in a crowded field of nine candidates for three open council seats. When counting began on March 3 after elections closed, Solanki, received 2,533 votes,
Solanki, 50, who has been a resident of Cerritos for almost 27 years and served on the city’s Planning Commission for eight years, reacting to the victory was all praise for his campaign manager Bruce Barrows and his supporters and said “I have no regrets. The win is a victory for Indian-Americans and the people of Cerritos.” “I never thought running a campaign for local elections would be so tough. It’s way more difficult than running my chain of grocery stores. If it were not for my family, friends and community supporters I would not have made it.” Solanki said he garnered overwhelming support from the community based on him being a qualified candidate. Assured that he had the potential to deliver the goods they rallied behind him with their support which came in all forms.
Solanki reveals that his main objective is to maintain the city’s high quality of life, safety of residents and balance the budget. “I have vowed not to take a single penny from the city until the budget is balanced,” he emphasized.
Solanki had a cross section of supporters ranging from the old to the young and across community lines.“ My supporters did all they could to get me elected. I don’t know how to repay them.”
Solanki underscored the fact that voting at the local level was more crucial than at the state or federal level. “Know you candidates and then go out and vote for them,” he urged. Solanki’s core team consisted of Bhavin Gandhi, Deepak Jhaveri, Kirti Patel, Bipin Gadhe and Vikram Suva, who he called “the pillars of my election.” Speaking with India Journal they were unanimous in their reaction that the victory was due to the sweat and grueling work put in by tons of volunteers because of which they were able to reach the grass roots . Gandhi pointed out that whereas in the past records showed that only about 300 Indian-Americans voted in the city elections, this time round there were an estimated 1,200 voters. Their door knocking and phone calls paid off not only in the results but that they were able to get 400 new voters registered, who then showed up and exercised their voting right. Jhaveri added that Solanki’s ‘ strong resume’ got him overwhelming support.The end of the campaign saw a lot of mud-slinging but Solanki came out clean with no controversy against him. The entire family , Solanki, his wife and two sons, went door knocking and the impression they made on voters was a key factor in the win. Jhaveri revealed that volunteers went door knocking and covered the city three times. The win shows that every vote counts as 27 votes made all the difference. Gadhe called Solnaki’s victory a huge accomplishment for the Indian-American community in Cerritos and elsewhere. “The community came together for a single cause and took a first time, novice candidate to victory. This is no small feat -itrequired countless man-hours and multiple meetings to convince people, that this is important for our future. This victory sets a platform for future candidates and lends credibility and voice to the Indian-American community as a legitimate force to be reckoned with.”
Suva said Solanki’s goals and vision for Cerritos appealed not only to Indian-Americans but voters from other ethnicities.His victory means a lot for Cerritos residents. Cerritos has a new councilman who will make a difference by providing needed help to the residents.His background and experience will bring good direction for the city. Kirti Patel called the win ‘an important milestone for the Indian-American community.’ Kirti and his team provided the back-end support to the campaign and he was elated that it all paid off. The data services, analysis and feedback they provided helped them achieve in a week what would otherwise have taken months. “The community’s aggressive support went well over expectation,” he said.