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Over 50 Indian-origin candidates in UK poll

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Keith Vaz MP and a delegation at No 10 to meet the prime minister on the mango issue

Over 50 candidates of Indian origin are contesting in Thursday’s British general election, the outcome of which should be known by Friday morning.

 

Keith Vaz MP and a delegation at No 10 to meet the prime minister on the mango issue
Keith Vaz MP and a delegation at No 10 to meet the prime minister on the mango issue

Those in the fray include Sajid Javid of the Conservative party, who is half Indian and has been a cabinet minister for culture, media and sport in the government now in office since 2010. He is standing from Bromsgrove. Also fighting his old seat of Leicester East is Keith Vaz of the Labour party who is the seniormost of the Indian-origin MPs and has been a member of the House of Commons from 1987, not to mention his sister Valerie Vaz, also a Labour candidate.

Besides, junior ministers in the Conservative party-Liberal Democrat coalition led by Prime Minister David Cameron, Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) and Priti Patel (Witham), both Conservatives, are also seeking re-election among 10 sitting MPs of Indian descent.

Among the incumbents, Paul Uppal, Conservative, is facing a tough challenge in his constituency of Wolverhampton South West.

The same is true of Alok Sharma, also Conservative, in Reading West; but he has a slightly better chance of pulling it off.

It is not an easy ride for Valerie Vaz in Walsall South, either; but she has a fair chance of winning.

Other sitting candidates are expected to be returned comfortably.

British Prime Minister David Cameron with Priti Patel MP
British Prime Minister David Cameron with Priti Patel MP

Among the newcomers, Rishi Sunak, Conservative and son-in-law of Narayana Murthy, one of the founders of Infosys, is almost certain to triumph in Richmond, Yorkshire. He was selected to replace William Hague, until last year the British foreign minister who is retiring from the Commons.

Pramod Subbaraman, a Liberal Democrat, is a first time candidate in Edinburgh South, a seat held by his party. But the strong swing in favour of the Scottish National Party in Scotland has made it an uphill task for him.

Three others have an outside chance of crossing the line. They are Ms Purna Sen of Labour in Brighton Pavilion, Amanjit Jhund also of Labour in Dunbartonshire East and Douglas Hansen-Luke, Conservative, in Walsall North.

In a best case scenario there could be as many as 15 MPs in the next House of Commons. The likely result, though, could be 10-12 MPs.

Pakistani-origin MPs numbered seven in the outgoing house. This could increase to double figures in the next Commons.

The tally of Bangladeshi-origin MPs could treble. Sitting candidate Ms Rushanara Ali of Labour is strongly placed to prevail in Bethnal Green and Bow in east London. Ms Rupa Huq, also Labour, has an outside chance in Ealing Central and Acton in west London; while Ms Tulip Siddiq has an even better chance in Hampstead and Kilburn in north-west London.

Siddiq is a grand-daughter of Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a niece of the present Bangladeshi prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.

Two candidates of Sri Lankan origin are worth keeping an eye on. Ranil Jayawardena, Conservative, is level pegging in Hampshire North East; while Uma Kumaran, a Sri Lankan Tamil of the Labour party, has an outside chance in Harrow East.

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