Skip to main content

British Premier's bid to invoke Modi name to woo British Gujaratis fails; Labour's Khan is new London mayor

Sadiq Khan
By Our Representative
British Conservative candidate for London mayor, Zac Goldsmith – who received British Premier David Cameron’s support for wooing Gujarati and Punjabi settlers in the city by invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name – has faced a crushing defeat from his Labour rival Sadiq Khan, who happens to be a Muslim settler from Pakistan.
The 45-year-old son of a Pakistani bus driver beat Zac Goldsmith in what a British daily called “a sometimes bitter campaign during which the Conservatives accused Khan of being ‘dangerous’ and ‘pandering to extremists’. Sadiq’s team had termed Goldsmith’s campaign was “Islamophobic.”
Khan got 1,310,143 votes (57 per cent) after second preferences were taken into account, beating Goldsmith, who received 994,614 (43 per cent) votes. “His tally gave him the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history”, The Independent said. Khan said it was a victory “hope over fear and unity over division.”
Ahead of the elections, fears were being expressed that the Britain premier was seeking to follow US Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump in seeking to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment.
Cameron believed Goldsmith was the “only sensible choice” for the city's south Asian communities, particularly Gujarati Hindus and Punjabi Sikhs, when there was an alleged need to be keep “streets safe from terrorist attacks”.
Modi at Wembley Stadium, London
This led to Khan’s team accusing Cameron and Goldsmith of indulging in “divisive racial profiling”.
In his letter sent out the voters of Gujarati origin, under the heading “The Gujarati community makes London great”, Cameron wrote: “Closer ties between the UK and India have been a priority for me as prime minister. I was pleased to join Zac and thousands of British Gujaratis in welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the UK last year.” 
The implicit attack was on the Labour candidate, who did not attend the event to welcome Modi, who has been accused by Labour leaders of dividing opinion. This was because, “until 2012, Modi was barred from entering the UK over allegations that in 2002, when he was chief minister of Gujarat state, he failed to stop anti-Muslim riots in which 1,000 people died”, “The Guardian”, reporting on bitter electioneering, wrote.
A multi-millionaire, Goldsmith also wrote a letter to the Gujarati community, where he said, “Sadiq Khan won’t stand up for the London’s Gujarati community.” Reason, he insisted, was that Khan supported Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, who wanted to ban Prime Minister Modi from visiting the UK. Khan did not attend the ‘UK Welcomes Modi’ event at Wembley Stadium last year, either.
The daily quoted retired biochemist Barbara Patel, who wrote back to Cameron, objecting to his “facile and inaccurate attempt at racial profiling”. She said: “You have made a number of assumptions based on my surname (Patel = Gujarat and Gujarat = Hindu) and have attempted to use these ethnically based assumptions to ‘scare’ me into voting for your candidate, Zac Goldsmith.”
“I am not from Gujarat. I am not a Hindu, my husband’s family are lapsed Muslims. Above all, I have never been, nor ever would be, a Tory voter”, Patel said, adding, she was of Jewish descent and “the most distasteful aspect” of Cameron's letter was “attempting to cause division between the London Hindu Indian community and its Muslim community”.

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.