NEW YORK - Bobby Jindal, the governor of US State of Louisiana, Wednesday launched a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination for president to become the first Indian-American to ever be a serious candidate for the country’s highest office.

But at this point, political analysts rate Jindal’s chances of winning the Republican nomination as “extraordinarily low,” despite his anti-Islam posture.

There are already 12 other major Republican candidates in the race, with several more expected to enter soon. And Jindal, 44. is running behind nearly all of them: Several recent polls have shown him at just 1 percent support among Republican voters, either last or tied for last.

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Amar and Raj Jindal, Hindu immigrants from the Indian Punjab. His parents came to the US six months before he was born.

Jindal attended Baton Rouge Magnet High School, graduating in 1988 at the top of his class. He started out in politics while attending Brown University, a prominent educational institution. He went to Oxford University to study health-care systems. He later worked for the state of Louisiana. In 2001, Jindal became the assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush. In 2007, he was elected as governor of Louisiana, the first Indian to get that post.

An ambitious politician, he played the right cards to gain the attention of American voters: Jindal changed his first name from “Piyush” to “Bobby”.

Later, he converted from Hinduism to Christianity and then baptized a Catholic as a student at Brown University — making his devotion to Christianity a centerpiece of his public life. He and his wife, New Delhi-born Supriya, were quick to say in a television interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic. He said recently that he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American.

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the United States last September, a host of politicians attended his rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. Jindal did not. When Jindal’s name was mentioned, he was booed by the crowd.

Jindal sparked off big controversy following a speech In London recently , in which he said “non-assimilationist Muslims” threaten the West not merely because they support acts of violence, and not merely because they adhere to Islamic rather than national law. Most fundamentally, they pose a threat because they refuse to embrace the cultures of the countries to which they immigrate.

Denouncing the left’s claim that “it is unenlightened, discriminatory, and even racist to expect immigrants to endorse and assimilate into the culture in their new country,” Jindal insisted that “it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within.”

In his speech at London’s Henry Jackson Society, Jindal made little effort to define American or European culture except to associate it with “freedom.” So it’s hard to know exactly which aspects of it he believes Muslims refuse to embrace.

But in his speeches last year on religion, Jindal discussed American culture at greater length. And his verdict was surprisingly harsh. “American culture,” he told students at Liberty University, “has in many ways become a secular culture.” Many churches, he declared, now espouse “views on sin [that] are in direct conflict with the culture.” In case students hadn’t gotten the message, Jindal repeated himself: “Our culture has taken a secular turn.”

Jindal is attempting to exploit a “common fear of Muslims” in the US with an eye toward the elections, Corey Saylor of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), said in a statement. “It’s an unfortunate reality that some politicians will pick on minorities rather than offer solutions to the economic and real national security issues our country faces.”

Indian immigrants have made big stride in the United States, some of them holding key posts. Apart from Louisiana, an Indian is also heading the state of South Carolina. She is Nikki Haley, who is also a Republican. Born as Nimrata Randhawa to Sikh parents who migrated from Indian Punjab, Ms. Haley created history by becoming the first woman to occupy the governor’s mansion of South Carolina.

Like Jindal, she has also converted to Christianity, but occasionally goes to Sikh services at her parents’ request. She is married to Michael Haley, an officer in US defence department.

Rajiv Shah, also an Indian, has just left his post as head of US agency for International Development (USAID), while Rashed Hussain, an Indian Muslim, is US Special Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication. Nisha Desai Biswal is Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department. Many other Indians are holding important posts—a huge advantage to India.

There are millions of Indians in the United States and their children are particularly rated as good, hardworking students and they are making their mark in all fields, especially in IT.