Indian-American Ravinder Bhalla became the first ever Sikh mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, after winning Tuesday night's election, following an ugly campaign where he was branded as a "terrorist."

Bhalla, who defeated five other mayoral candidates, tweeted after the results: "Thank you Hoboken. I look forward to being your Mayor."

His victory came days after he was targeted by flyers labeling him a terrorist. But the negative publicity did not affect his campaigning.

Bhalla, who serves on the City Council, claimed the mayoral victory at Moran's Pub on Garden Street where he was surrounded by dozens of his supporters and his family and friends, NJ.com reported.

"Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about," he said, addressing the people inside the packed bar. "We've been through a bruising campaign... but now is the time we come together and see who we can work with to bring this city forward," he added.

Bhalla kept posting photographs urging people to come out and vote even as it rained. He tweeted saying that rainfall shouldn't deter people from stepping out and having a say in their democracy.

It was not an easy win for Bhalla as he beat a six-person field of challengers including council members Michael DeFusco and Jennifer Giattino, as well as Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who became acting mayor after Peter Cammarano's resignation July 31, 2009 following his arrest on corruption charges, decided not to run for re-election in June. Zimmer endorsed Bhalla to replace her. 

The mayoral race in Hoboken reached a controversial point when flyers featuring Bhalla's photograph were distributed around the town with the words: "Don’t let terrorism take over our town." The flyer also said in the top corner that it was paid for by the DeFusco campaign. However, DeFusco denied any involvement in the racist flyers.

But it did not hamper Bhalla's spirits who referred to the circulation of flyers as "troubling."

Bhalla was born and raised in New Jersey and has been residing in Hoboken since 17 years. He received his undergraduate education from the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in political psychology. After graduation, he went to the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom to pursue Master of Science in public administration and public policy. He also has a Juris Doctor Degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana, according to his website.

Bhalla did not have a luxurious childhood as his parents had no money or other resources. He wrote: "My Mom and Dad started their own journey in this great country of ours living in a trailer park in the middle of Pennsylvania. They had no money, no family, no friends."

However, he survived all odds to create a name for himself in politics.

"I am acutely aware that the odds were long that their son would get to where I am today, on the eve of Election Day.  But here we are, all of us, you and me, and all our supporters, together," he said, according to his website.