Image Source : AP/X Nikki Haley’s father Ajit Singh Randhawa

Washington: Indian-origin former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who was the last Republican competing against ex-US President Donald Trump for the November presidential election, took to social media to announce her father Ajit Singh Randhawa’s demise. Haley penned a note describing her father as an “amazing father” and a “loving grandfather.”

Haley’s father passed away on June 16 (Sunday). “This morning I had to say goodbye to the smartest, sweetest, kindest, most decent man I have ever known. My heart is heavy knowing he is gone. He taught his kids the importance of faith, hard work, and grace,” said Haley in her post.

“He was an amazing husband of 64 years, a loving grandfather and great grandfather, and the best father to his four children. He was such a blessing to all of us. Happy Father’s Day Dad. We will miss you dearly,” she added. Both Haley’s parents migrated from India to Canada and later to South Carolina and raised four children.

Ajit Singh Randhawa, a professor at Punjab Agricultural University, has a doctorate from Vancouver’s University of British Columbia and worked as a biology professor at Voorhees College in Sout Carolina for 29 years before retiring in 1998. His wife Raj Kaur Randhawa studied law at the University of Delhi and worked in Bamberg private schools, according to South China Morning Post.

Haley was born Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa in 1972 and has three siblings, brothers Mitti and Charan and a sister Simran. The family was raised in the Sikh faith. Her parents also ran a foreign goods store in Bamberg that later became a clothing boutique before closing in 2008. Haley’s father Ajit had been suffering from cancer, as per reports, causing her to briefly leave her campaign trial to visit him.

Haley served as the Governor of South Carolina for two terms and was the US Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump’s presidency. She was the youngest governor and the first minority female governor in the United States. She is currently married to former Army officer and businessman Michael Haley and has two children Rena and Nalin.

The 52-year-old Republican never seriously challenged the former president for the party’s presidential nomination, winning only one state and the District of Columbia before ending her campaign. However, her fierce attacks on his character and competence in the final months of her campaign made Haley the standard bearer for the dwindling anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party.

Trump, in turn, repeatedly mocked her with the nickname “Birdbrain,” though he curtailed those attacks after securing enough delegates in March to become the presumptive Republican nominee. Last month, Haley said she would vote for Trump in the upcoming election, despite lobbing harsh criticisms at him for months during the campaign trail. While Haley dropped her bid for the Republican presidential nomination in March, her name has remained on the ballot and she still routinely wins well over 10 per cent of the vote in state-run primary contests despite no longer campaigning.

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